Setting the Record Straight
The entire team at Rubicon is incredibly proud of the company we have built, thanks to the hard work of the women and men of the company who believe in our mission of transforming the waste industry by using technology and data to drive recycling and sustainability. We feel compelled to set the record straight regarding some of the incorrect reporting contained in a Bloomberg News piece on October 2nd.
· The Bloomberg story relies heavily on anonymous sources and competitors. We made available for interview numerous Rubicon executives, board members, investors, and customers, but the reporters declined to interview most of them.
· The piece states that based on the feedback from former employees, the business results have been “disappointing.” We value every member who comes through Rubicon’s doors, but are confident in the ability of some of the savviest investors in the world to gauge the health of our business. We have recently closed $50 million in new funding from a strategic investor and have obtained a valuation of more than $1B. In addition, our Small and Medium Business (SMB) growth has increased 300% YTD, while at the same time we have cut customer acquisition costs by 20%. Additionally, we have deployed pilot programs into three cities. These are clear indicators that our company is prospering.
· The story references various non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that Rubicon has with its customers, expressing transparency concerns regarding our unwillingness to comment on private customer data. We place a high priority on protecting our data and that of our customers, as well as protecting their proprietary information. This information is sacred to us and we take our responsibility to safeguard it seriously. We will not violate those agreements for the sake of a news story.
· During the course of the story the reporters tell a story about a tech issue that caused our customers disruptions in their service, yet neglected to mention this occurred in early 2014. While we believe that any issue that causes a disruption to our customers is unacceptable, this particular issue was resolved well over three years ago and has not occurred again since that time.
· In the article, CEO Nate Morris explains that Rubicon is playing a “long game” and “if it takes us 20 years to get there, so be it.” We have consistently said that we are building a different type of technology company at Rubicon, as evidenced by the fact that we are headquartered in Atlanta and have gone outside of Silicon Valley time and again for talent, funding, and expertise. In particular, in the waste and recycling space it takes years to reach the scale and volume needed to build a nationwide platform – a concept known as “building density.” Building density matters because Rubicon needs to have access to a large percentage of any given area’s waste so that it can create recycling solutions and drive landfill diversion in a meaningful and economically sustainable way. While this was relayed to the Bloomberg reporters multiple times during the course of several interviews, it is disappointing that this important point on density did not appear in the story, as it is key to unlocking profitability in the industry and attracting sustainable solutions in lieu of landfills.
· In the story Rubicon is described as a “broker,” which has been the most common talking point that “The Big 3” haulers have used for years to try and thwart our company’s growth and expansion. The strawman argument can be easily tested when noting that none of our competitors have commitment to growing their business digitally through advanced technologies, such as machine learning, and SaaS offerings like Rubicon’s. We are proud to partner with a network of independent haulers. Rubicon has helped to grow their individual businesses through technology, improved efficiency, and the RUBICONPro purchasing consortium.
· Rubicon’s business with “The Big 3” haulers is currently 15% of total business, with 8% taking place in franchise markets where we are legally obligated to do so. Rubicon has been a vocal critic of franchise markets in this industry throughout the years, a point we made to Bloomberg multiple times throughout the interview process.
· The story references concerns about our company culture. Rubicon, like any high growth company, has experienced employee turnover through the years as we sought the right mix of people to professionalize the company. We are incredibly proud of how our company has grown over the last few years – bringing in leadership including our new CFO Chad Gold from SAP Ariba, General Counsel Barry Medintz from Recall Corporation, and VP of Human Resources Kerri Faber from General Electric. Our employees are our greatest asset and we are grateful for their hard work every day.
· Rubicon told Wired in 2015 that we were piloting residential, on-demand service. We have since shifted our business strategy to align it with our customers’ needs and wants. However, we remain dedicated to an entrepreneurial vision that will move this industry into the future. On many occasions, we launch pilot projects, experiment and push the envelope on research and development. Sometimes these experiments work out, sometimes they do not – but we will never stop innovating and pushing for a better future for this industry, which will mean a greener, more sustainable future for our communities and our country.
Rubicon’s core values remain the same as they were when we were founded almost a decade ago: to reduce waste and recycling costs for our customers, empower small businesses, and increase landfill diversion. We remain grateful for the continued interest from the media in our journey and more importantly, the continued strong support from our investors, our hauler partners, and our customers.