Denver-based Amp Robotics has announced that it has raised $55 million in corporate equity in a Series B financing, led by XN with participation from Valor Equity Partners and GV, which are new investors, as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, Congruent Ventures and Closed Loop Partners. Amp Robotics says this new round of funding follows a $16 million Series A financing led by Sequoia Capital in November 2019.
According to a news release from Amp Robotics, the company plans to use this latest funding to scale its business operations to meet market demand for its technology and develop new artificial intelligence (AI) product applications that can be used by material recovery facility (MRF) operators to increase recycling rates. The new capital also will help to support Amp’s market expansion as it works with consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, such as Keurig Dr Pepper, to help these businesses to achieve recycled content and sustainability goals for a circular economy.
“We are putting this next round of investment to work immediately to create novel technology for the waste industry and meaningfully contribute to reducing society's impact on the environment,” says Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of Amp Robotics.
Amp’s technology applies computer vision and deep learning to guide high-speed robotics systems to identify and differentiate recyclables found in the waste stream by color, size, shape, opacity and consumer brand.
Goals and visions
Since it’s founding in 2014, Amp Robotics has expanded throughout the waste and recycling industry.
Horowitz says he attributes much of that growth to innovation and strong technology, factors in place well before the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020.
“We’ve seen strong traction with our AI and robotics technology, particularly over the last two years,” Horowitz says. “We’ve really proven we have something beneficial to offer the industry, and that allowed investors to place a bigger bet.”
That bigger bet came in the form of two large investments at the end of 2019 and early 2021, as well as a contract with Toronto-based Waste Connections. First, Series A financing in November 2019 raised $16 million led by Sequoia Capital. Most recently, $55 million in Series B financing was led by XN, including Valor Equity Partners and GV, which are new investors, as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, Congruent Ventures and Closed Loop Partners.
“We're thrilled to partner with Matanya at this juncture in Amp's journey,” XN founder Gaurav Kapadia says. “He has assembled a world-class team, demonstrated impressive commercial traction and laid the groundwork to build a category-defining business over the next decade.”
Kapadia adds that he believes Amp’s technology, vision and strategy will improve the ability to recover and reuse materials, creating a more circular economy.
Horowitz says the growth over the last 24 months makes now the perfect time to work with these investors to help Amp achieve its long-term goals.
“Our investors are best-in-class, representing a diverse group of firms focused on operational growth who have scaled notable companies including Apple, Tesla, SpaceX, Impossible Foods and Uber (amongst many, many others),” Horowitz says. “They have deep expertise in technology and operationally intensive businesses like ours, expertise that we can draw from.”
Tim Brown, a partner at XN, says, “We believe Amp will continue to extend the applications of its breakthrough machine vision and robotics technology to help recycling and waste customers automate their processes and more efficiently recapture materials.”
When it comes to expansion, Amp’s goals are to make more of an impact on the waste industry, both in America and around the world.
“The expansion of AI applications for material identification and recovery is a major focus for us,” Horowitz says. “We are developing new vision system offerings, innovating data capture for waste characterization to support operators and expanding data access to packaging producers to help them achieve recycled content goals. Increasing the range of tasks our robots can perform is vital, as is creating a strong service function to best support our customers.”
When it comes to working with investors on those goals, Horowitz says it’s important to share a similar perspective with them, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense for either side.
“The only way for us here at Amp to truly succeed is to make a meaningful impact on the economics of recycling, and it’s very important that those backing us share this ethos,” Horowitz says. “We sought partners who saw that calculus and wanted to bet on it.”
Kapadia adds, “Waste is one of the largest sectors of the global economy and an area where advances in applied AI/ML and robotics, like Amp's, can help companies and economies drive faster and more sustainable growth.”
Horowitz says these investments allow Amp to get ahead of demand, while also expanding in other areas of the company to accelerate long-term plans.
"Investment enables us to double down on our initiatives as well as expand our scope and offerings,” Horowitz says. “It means more resources to hire additional employees and expand our operations to build, ship and install fleets of robotics systems for our customers—with a focus on shortening lead time. The funding also gives us more resources to invest further into continuous improvement, quality, reliability, service and support.”