Startup Aims to Bring High-Tech Innovation to Commercial Hauling

Atlanta-based Rubicon is attempting to shake up the commercial waste and recycling industry, and is setting its sights on expansion into new markets with a $30 million infusion of new funds.

Rubicon doesn’t do anything with its clients’ waste directly, but facilitates services and finds new ways to reduce its clients’ waste footprints. Rubicon’s virtual marketplace allows local haulers to bid on their clients’ contracts for hauling and disposal, while Rubicon’s software and associates help identify new methods for waste diversion and recycling tailored to each client.

The company’s high-tech approach to waste management even includes sensors that indicate how full a clients’ waste bins are, and can map out the most efficient pickup route for haulers.

Waste360: Please tell us a little bit about how Rubicon was started, and what was the inspiration for the company’s mission.

Nate Morris: Rubicon launched in 2008 and is North America’s only cloud-based, sustainable waste and recycling company. Rubicon’s innovative, technology-based solutions help companies reduce operating expenses, divert waste from landfills and work towards long-term sustainability goals. Because Rubicon is asset-light and 100 percent independent, the company is able to align incentives with its customers’ needs and the environment.

Waste360: How is Rubicon’s work to identify recycling and diversion opportunities different that what recyclers and trash haulers already do?

Nate Morris: Rubicon’s business model is unique because it helps customers save money, empowers small businesses and reduces environmental impact. Rubicon is first in the industry to use the sharing economy because it leverages technology to empower customers and vendors.

Our cloud-based model (similar to Uber), creates value by sharing information and increasing efficiency. Through Rubicon’s strategic sourcing platform, independent haulers and recyclers have the opportunity to win business for large national accounts that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them.

Rubicon has an entire solutions team that works with customers to find and implement innovative recycling solutions that not only create less waste, but also provide them with new revenue streams. Our technology platform analyzes data which helps customers easily manage metrics, maintain an eco-competitive strategy and mitigate risk.

Waste360: Does Rubicon plan to offer residential service?

Nate Morris: Rubicon will be moving aggressively into all facets of the industry.

Waste360: Does Rubicon work with local waste management companies?

Nate Morris: Rubicon works with customers to find the most cost-efficient, sustainable and creative solutions to handling waste and recycling. The majority of customers’ locations are served by independent businesses. Rubicon empowers small business owners to grow their businesses through our strategic sourcing platform. These small business owners have their names on the back of their trucks and really care about the service they provide.

Waste360: How has the reception been from the waste management industry for Rubicon?

Nate Morris: By and large the industry has been supportive of the way Rubicon has democratized the marketplace and let smaller companies compete for contracts that historically have gone to major, national companies. In addition, Rubicon is creating growth in the industry by increasing demand for emerging recycling technology.

Waste360: What are Rubicon’s plans for future expansion in light of the $30 million in investments the company has raised?

Nate Morris: Rubicon is enthusiastic about its recent B round of financing. Much of the $30 million that was raised will go toward expanding the company. Key investors include Forbes 400 members: Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, and Brad Kelley. Rubicon is hiring talented individuals as well as exploring new technology, code-named ‘Rubicon X,’ that will help us deliver even more cost-savings and recycling opportunities to our customers.

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