AMP Robotics Corp., a pioneer in artificial intelligence and robotics for the recycling industry, announced that it has raised $16 million in Series A funding, led by Sequoia Capital with participation from previous investors. AMP 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, partner at Sequoia, will join AMP’s Board of Directors.
This news, which comes on the heels of Blackrock's launch of its BGF Circular Economy Fund, signals more investment in the circular economy and the battle to reduce waste and plastics. It also supports the growing demand for robotics and cleaner materials, as the recycling industry continues to adapt to China's National Sword and other countries' policies.
“We are excited to partner with AMP because their technology is changing the economics of the recycling industry,” said Maguire in a statement. “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 these challenges, AMP commercialized the AMP Cortex high-speed robotics system that precisely automates the identification and automated sorting of municipal waste, e-waste and construction and demolition debris. AMP’s robots consistently pick twice as fast as humanly possible and with much greater accuracy, according to the company. 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,” said Matanya Horowitz, founder and chief executive officer at AMP, in a statement. “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 creates a consortium of investors, including BV, Closed Loop Partners, Congruent Ventures and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP), a new technology-enabled infrastructure company that spun out of Sidewalk Labs, one of the largest seed investors in AMP Robotics, and 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,” said Mike Delucia, the principal at SIP who led the investment in AMP for both SIP and Sidewalk Labs, in a statement.
Last month, AMP completed the install of 14 AI-guided robots at Single Stream Recyclers in Florida, the single largest global deployment in the recycling industry, according to the company. 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 Florida, AMP has installations at numerous facilities across the U.S., including California, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, with many more installations upcoming.
“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,” said Abe Yokell, AMP board member and managing partner at Congruent Ventures, in a statement. “The opportunity for modernization is high as the demand for recycled materials continues to climb from consumers and the growing circular economy.”