This $1 billion company hailed for innovation is bringing its global HQ to Lexington

A smart waste and recycling solutions company worth over $1 billion and hailed for its innovation is bringing its global headquarters to Lexington’s City Center.

Rubicon Technologies, a software platform that provides solutions for waste and recycling to businesses and governments, is opening a new office in the City Center development in downtown Lexington, Rubicon officials announced Tuesday. The City Center is managed and co-owned by the Webb Companies.

“Our two companies share deep Kentucky roots, and we are excited to help Rubicon grow its presence in our great city,” Woodford Webb, president of the Webb Companies, said in a statement.

The company — which has been called “Uber for trash” — was previously headquartered in Atlanta before many of the company’s 350 employees moved to remote work during the pandemic, according to a company spokesman. The Lexington headquarters “will house the CEO and immediate staff in the short term, with expected growth in the long term as the company navigates a post-pandemic environment.”

Rubicon says it has more than 50 patents, serves a range of small businesses and Fortune 500 companies and has 4.9 million service locations across the United States and 20 countries.

“Rubicon is a homegrown Kentucky company, and I am proud that the commonwealth will serve as its global headquarters going forward,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement released Tuesday. “This is an innovative company that is changing the way we think about recycling and waste management and partnering with numerous other Kentucky companies and organizations to create a better future.”

Rubicon was founded in Kentucky in 2008 by Nate Morris and Marc Spiegel. Morris currently serves as the company’s CEO. Morris said in a statement that Lexington has “always has been our home, and we believe that cities outside of the largest metros in the country are those that need and deserve our support and continued investment.”

The company’s new Lexington office will open later this summer, the company said. The company currently has a leadership office in New York.

What does Rubicon do?

The company said in 2019 that municipal governments were spending billions of dollars to deal with waste. Part of Rubicon’s goal was to help governments save money by finding more efficient and environmentally-friendly ways to dispose of waste, resulting in fewer taxpayer dollars put toward garbage cleanup.

Rubicon’s waste management program has six basic steps, according to company documents shared on the Rubicon website. The first step focuses on determining the current state of waste and recycling and finding out local regulations on waste.

Then the company puts together a new plan for waste and recycling collection, which includes optimizing collection services and building a better schedule to make hauling away the trash more efficient. The company also identifies more sustainable equipment and office supplies that customers can purchase to reduce waste.

The third step involves finding ways to tell staff, vendors and custodians about improvements to their waste management. They use picture-based bin signs to inform people of what can be recycled. The fourth step is to eliminate food waste, non-recyclable material and individually-packaged goods.

The fifth step is to “roll out” side-by-side waste containers for recycling and trash. Rubicon color-codes bin liners, so people can distinguish bins for recyclables from those for compost and others for material that goes to a landfill. They also look to put out bins for donations and material that’s hard to recycle.

The final step brings in modern technology as the company looks to track recycling rates and bin contamination to make program changes if needed.

Morris wrote in a 2019 letter that his goal is to end waste and that his company “made an early strategic decision to use every tool in our arsenal — customer centricity, small business empowerment, and the strength of digital platforms and data — to transform a stagnating industry whose business model was a threat to the health of our planet.”

The company’s move was praised by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. “Promising opportunity is coming to Kentucky with the announcement of this investment and the opening of a new global headquarters. As the home to a top-tier workforce, Lexington will continue to be the perfect fit for this growing enterprise.”

Several other Kentucky politicians and local leaders commended Rubicon.

“We are proud to welcome a new global headquarters operation to our city, especially one with Kentucky roots,” Mayor Linda Gorton said in a statement. ”Green technology companies like Rubicon will become increasingly important in the future. Rubicon supports small businesses and already has partnerships with many of our institutions. It will be right at home in Lexington.”

As Rubicon developed over the past 13 years, the company made headlines as it reached a reported $500 million valuation and added star actor Leonardo DiCaprio to its board of directors. Uber’s founding chief technology officer currently serves on the board of directors.

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