Enevo, a provider of waste and recycling services and analytics solutions, has a mission to transform the financial, environmental and social impact of waste while helping its clients to make smarter waste management decisions.
Recently, the company received $12 million in funding to expand its waste and recycling services in North America and key European regions. With this funding, the company will be able to offer full management of waste services for both new and current restaurant, retail and commercial property customers, building upon its innovative and effective dumpster sensor technology and waste analytics business.
Waste360 recently spoke with Geoff Aardsma, vice president of client services at Enevo and Waste360 40 Under 40 award recipient, about what Enevo plans to do with the funding it received to expand its waste and recycling services in North America and key European regions, why the company is considered the single point of contact for waste services and the company’s goals for 2018.
Waste360: Explain the history of the company and how its new waste and recycling service offerings position the company for growth.
Geoff Aardsma: Enevo was founded in Finland in 2010, and we became commercially viable in 2013. Since being founded, we have pursued and created operational efficiency and alignment between waste collectors and waste generators.
We have a heavy European presence, and we have bought very heavily into the “smart cities” movement, focusing a lot on municipalities. In the U.S., however, our business has differed. Municipal services in Europe are quite prevalent and private industry services aren’t nearly as prevalent as they are in the U.S.
Municipalities focus on residential collection, single-family homes, carts and toters, but commercial collection and public space collection has typically been left to the private sector or contractors so we have always focused our energy in the U.S. on the private industry sector. We’ve also pursued municipalities with the goal of delivering operational efficiencies to waste collectors and creating closer relationships with the waste generators through an efficient exchange of information. From that standpoint, nothing has changed. We are still looking to provide an efficient exchange of information to waste generators that utilize waste services, whether it’s municipal or private.
The big shift has been in the delivery vehicle in which we provide those benefits. We have been able to drastically expand who we’re able to provide our benefits to by removing the hard and soft cost barriers that come with a product sale by crafting our offering as a service that benefits everyone in the value chain of waste generators and waste collectors. We are now using that vehicle to achieve our mission that we set when we first started the company.
Waste360: Enevo recently received $12 million in funding to grow its waste and recycling services in North America and key European regions. How will those funds be used?
Geoff Aardsma: Our investors who provided us with the funds are really interested in the new mode of delivery for the benefits that we are bringing to the market and our ability to reach a wider audience by offering a service instead of a product.
A lot of the funds will be used to continue the work that was done and funded through our Series A. Ultimately, the funding is going to help us expand the infrastructure that we already have in place to support our growing customer base.
The funding will also help us develop more efficient communication paths with clients, generators and collectors, create new ways that we can utilize our data to increase the effectiveness of our services and allow us to invest in our business so that we can continue to provide great services and make good investments on behalf of our customers.
Waste360: As Enevo expands into the waste and recycling space, what challenges is the company facing?
Geoff Aardsma: There will always be challenges, and the challenge of reception of new offerings or change is one that’s there and one that we have crafted our services to very specifically address.
One of our goals in this new line of service is to expand the influence and how we are able to utilize our technology to improve the waste industry, and part of that is blending what we do with how things are done today and how things can be done in the future. We are hoping to seamlessly adapt to industry changes and needs without interruption to the core processes that allow waste to be collected efficiently today.
Rather than asking waste companies to make the leap into new technology, our new line of service allows us to fund that environment. It’s a much more natural conversation because we’re already doing business together in a way that’s very familiar for waste haulers, and we’re each incentivized to discuss how we can work together to serve our customers better.
I’m personally very passionate about the waste industry, and I am thrilled that we hired a number of experts from the waste industry to serve on our team because I feel like we are all on the same page about wanting to elevate our waste services and create a system where the industry really benefits from the great work that we do and our customers do.
Waste360: Fredrik Kekalainen, founder and CEO of Enevo, dubbed Enevo as the single point of contact for waste services. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Geoff Aardsma: We’re working with restaurants, commercial property groups, retail companies and others to be their single point of contact. We do everything on the backend that’s required for the efficient delivery of waste services to their location, which allows our customers to buy something that’s familiar to them. By delivering a greater level of benefit and being transparent in collaboration, we have been able to expand our customer base in a natural and comfortable way.
We’re able to help our clients eliminate a portion of their waste stream through better sourcing practices, and that actually benefits everyone because it’s a systematic solution. Our clients are presented with the materials that align with the containers they have been given, and we are able to ensure that those materials have actually left the waste stream.
If you’re not in the industry, it’s difficult to understand the complexity of the industry. There are so many moving parts that everyone tends to have their own perception of what’s really going on. One of the key things that we want to do is start creating that shared source of truth where everyone can be looking at the same information and agree on it because once you eliminate the debate of who is right or who has the correct perception then we can all start moving toward more productive tasks, which will then allow us to achieve our environmental goals much quicker and create a tighter alignment between waste generators and waste haulers.
The role of the private industry in the smart cities movement is critical, and I think the role of businesses is just as critical. The waste industry often becomes the recipient of other people’s decisions, and that’s one of the things that can really benefit the waste industry. As an industry, we need to continue to push for education and a seat at the table to discuss how packaging and different legislations can affect the investments that we’ve made into the waste infrastructure.
Waste360: What are some of the company’s goals for 2018 and beyond?
Geoff Aardsma: We are looking to tap the innovation that’s already in the waste industry. I worked for a waste company for almost 10 years before joining Enevo, and during that time, I noticed that there were a lot of great ideas and not a lot of time to put them into place. That being said, we are really excited to work with more waste collectors to serve our clients and help carry out the innovative ideas that are already in the waste industry.
People talk about recycling and waste collection being very local, but I think anyone who’s in the industry understands the nuances of waste and recycling from city to city, zip code to zip code and certainly state to state. While each community is different, the innovative concepts can be similar if they are implemented properly.
Waste360: How do you think data and technology is changing the industry?
Geoff Aardsma: It’s really about moving away from this “squeaky wheel gets the grease” type of mentality and moving toward a more targeted approach that rewards high-quality service.
What we have seen in the markets is that there’s a challenge with how quickly information is exchanged between waste generators and waste collectors. Recognizing that challenge, we provide a conduit for the efficient exchange of information, which is fueled by strong relationships and high-valued services. With that, we are able to validate every aspect of specific waste collection offerings and provide a targeted path for improvement, which is a major benefit for our waste generator clients.
Waste360: How does Enevo work to stand out from its competitors?
Geoff Aardsma: There is a much faster influx of new technology coming into the waste technology industry so we’re focusing on making sure that we have a high level of experience in the market with technology and that we are receiving feedback on processes around what we learned from the market with regards to the waste industry as a whole.
We are still pretty new to the waste space so we really have to have an open exchange of ideas and feedback with our hauler base so that we don’t weigh assumptions on them and that we present information that’s valuable to everyone. By doing this, we can figure out the best way to apply our solutions so that we create a beneficial environment for all parties.