AMP Robotics Corp., Denver, has announced that it has raised $16 million in series A funding led by Menlo Park, California-based Sequoia Capital with participation from previous investors. According to AMP, the company will use this latest funding to further scale operations and develop new artificial intelligence (AI) products that help improve the economics of recycling. As part of the investment, Shaun Maguire, a partner at Sequoia, will join AMP’s board of directors.
“We are excited to partner with AMP because their technology is changing the economics of the recycling industry,” Maguire says. “Over the last few years, the industry has had their margins squeezed by labor shortages and low commodity prices. The end result is an industry proactively searching for cost-saving alternatives and added opportunities to increase revenue by capturing more high-value recyclables, and AMP is emerging as the leading solution.”
To address the challenges with recycling, AMP commercialized its AMP Cortex high-speed robotics system that automates the identification and sorting of municipal waste, e-waste, and construction and demolition debris. According to the company, AMP’s robots can pick twice as fast as human sorters with much greater accuracy. The AMP Neuron AI platform guides the robots to perform sorting tasks, applying computer vision and machine learning to recognize different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, patterns and brands to identify material characteristics. The AI platform transforms millions of images into data, digitizing the material stream and capturing data on what goes in and out so informed decisions can be made about operations and performance.
“Our new partners at Sequoia have a history of building category-defining businesses, and we are deeply excited to be executing on this vision with their experience, along with our existing world-class consortium of investors,” Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO at AMP, says. “We are perfectly positioned to expand the scope of our technology and the geographies where we do business, furthering our mission to change the fundamental economics of recycling and help make the circular economy possible.”
The addition of Sequoia adds to AMP’s investors, which includes Boston-based BV, New York-based Closed Loop Partners, San Francisco-based Congruent Ventures, and Toronto-based Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP). SIP is a new technology-enabled infrastructure company that spun out of Sidewalk Labs—one of the largest seed investors in AMP Robotics—that is backed by Alphabet Inc. and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
"Our team is proud to have backed AMP since its very earliest stages in the seed round through Sidewalk Labs, and we are thrilled to make AMP Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners’ first investment, and to help AMP scale rapidly because we believe that their proprietary technology will fundamentally transform the infrastructure of recycling to make it both more economic and more sustainable,” says Mike Delucia, the principal at SIP who led the investment in AMP for both SIP and Sidewalk Labs.
In October, AMP completed the install of fourteen AI-guided robots at Single Stream Recyclers in Sarasota, Florida. According to AMP, this was the largest global deployment in the recycling industry. The robots are installed on a number of different sorting lines throughout the facility, processing plastics, cartons, fiber, metals and other materials. In addition to Single Stream Recyclers, AMP has installations at facilities across the U.S., including in California, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, with more installations forthcoming.
“We believe that AMP’s artificial intelligence and robotics technology are poised to solve many of the central challenges of recycling, not only in the United States, but around the world,” Abe Yokell, an AMP board member who is also a managing partner at Congruent Ventures, says. “The opportunity for modernization is high as the demand for recycled materials continues to climb from consumers and the growing circular economy.”