November 9, 2023
We’re thrilled to announce our investment in Glacier, a leader in AI-powered robotic waste technology that produces an industry-leading recycling robot – a combination of cutting-edge AI and robotics. Our investment will enable the company to expand their team, scale up production, and accelerate their growth.
Why we invested in Glacier:
Triple-Impact Business Model: The U.S. throws away $123B of commodities every year due to a lack of a robust recycling infrastructure. With a robot capable of sorting 19 categories of recyclable materials and selecting the highest-quality commodities, Glacier enhances the efficiency of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), not only streamlining the recycling process but also addressing surging demand for recycled feedstock and mitigating supply shortages caused by aging infrastructure and a dwindling labor pool. Adding to this, Glacier’s scanner camera, driven by AI, not only informs the robots’ actions but also aggregates invaluable data on recycled materials – a goldmine for municipalities and brands eager to make informed sustainability decisions. Enhancing both recycling rates and the quality of recycled materials is paramount to mitigating pollution, preserving precious natural resources, and diminishing greenhouse gas emissions.
A Multi-Billion Dollar Market Opportunity: In 2019, the U.S. waste management market was valued at an estimated $15B and is projected to surpass $8B by 2024. Legislation and the Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) mandates are compelling both brands and the waste management sector to increase the annual recovery of recyclable materials and data collection. Sorting recyclables is a dull, perilous, and low-paying occupation, with an average of 40% of employees quitting within a week, an estimated 20-50% of sorting stations vacant. In response to these challenges, the smart waste management market is poised to hit the $5 billion mark or more by 2024.
Competitive Advantage on Price & Size: Glacier’s robot combines efficiency, affordability, and versatility, making it a standout choice in the sorting robot market. With a compact three-foot diameter, it matches the space efficiency of a human sorter, unlike its main competitor, whose robot requires more than 2x the feet in diameter. Notably, Glacier’s robot is not only smaller but also more cost-effective including installation costs. Installation is a breeze, taking just one day. What truly sets Glaicer apart is the custom firmware, enabling a broader range of movements, including the use of two arms for lifting larger objects.