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Trash Warrior's Lily Shen Shares Plans for Recent $8 Million Funding Round

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Trash Warrior is a tech company connecting B2B companies with waste-hauling providers. In a recent funding round, the company received a total of $8 million dollars, and with this money, the company has big plans. Lily Shen of Trash Warrior tells Waste360 what it has been like starting this company and the direction she plans on leading it next.

Running a warehouse is a difficult challenge. There are a lot of interwoven pieces that need to be consistently overviewed in order to ensure the efficiency and success of the company and its employees.

With all of these different variables to keep track of, one that is easily swept under the rug is waste and recycling services.

You might think that these things are intuitive to growing companies in the B2B space, however, with so many different collection services, waste processing facilities and landfills,  this information can quickly become convoluted and challenging for operations to oversee.

Trash Warrior is assisting haulers and recyclers alike struggling with this problem, with a mission to connect companies looking for easy, accessible, and manageable ways to dispose of their waste with the haulers and recyclers who can do just that.

The San Francisco-based waste management service provider founded by Lily Shen has ambitious goals of spreading across the nation.

“It sucks to be a warehouse manager with an exceeding volume of waste piled up in your warehouse, and you are posting on Craigslist asking people to remove the waste,” says Shen during a recent interview with Waste360. “Having those warehouses all run smoothly is a crucial part of daily life.”

Shen discusses the importance of establishing streamlined recycling systems within B2B businesses.

 Trash Warrior utilizes data to form a network of trash collection providers and B2B customers.The platform connects these companies within these two parties together based on a number of variables such as availability, sustainability requirements, and pricing.

“We are trying to drastically improve the waste management experience for both customers and providers in the B2B space of the United States,” says Shen.

In order to get any business afloat, funding is a necessity. Fortunately for this important service, Trash Warrior has begun to garner the attention of numerous investors interested in supporting this company, but it was not always this way.

“It was exciting that someone other than me believed in this idea.”

The first $100k was crowdfunded by Shen’s friends and family.

“I was essentially using my own network to prove an idea” Shen expresses.

Using this money to build the tech platform, Trash Warrior has since become a stable program that investors are willing to put their money into.

In its recent pre-A investment round of funding, the company received $8 million led by AltaIR Capital, with other contributions from Amino Capital, Operator Partners, Vermilion Ventures, Hyphen Capital, Primavera Capital, Sand Hill Angels, Lombard Street Ventures, and 500 Startups.

The Trash Warrior company and Shen were also involved with 500 Startups, which is a program she compares to a college course, meant to support the professional needs of up-and-coming businesses and entrepreneurs.

“Our overall marketing strategy was improved and perfected. We improved a lot during our time with 500 Startups,” Shen says about her experience.

With a well-established tech and marketing system developed, the recently acquired fund will be put towards expanding the company's network of users and providers and strengthening its data to better support sustainable waste practices.

“With the new funding round, we hope to build and utilize a very detailed database on waste diversion, for each waste stream and every zip code in the U.S.," she says.

The funding will allow Trash Warrior to invest more in their tech to develop.

“Customers not only care about getting waste removed, but also care about where it goes and if it is recycled or not,” shares Shen.

She explains that in the beginning stages of the company, once waste was picked up from the B2B location, it was up to the waste hauler's discretion as to where it will be dumped.

Trash Warrior is now hoping to amass enough information to put in place a streamlined system to get waste from B2B companies to haulers, and then to their appropriate recycling facilities.

“Now we are actually increasingly trying to have the control [over where the waste is brought] based on our data insights on the destination location.”

Now, it is up to Trash Warrior to utilize these funds to propel them and their waste reduction efforts forward.

Shen expresses excitement about what is to come for the company.

“I feel excited, that's for sure, but it is also a lot of responsibility. I feel much more excited daily to be serving customers and improving the life quality of our small, often family-owned, providers.”

Using these recent funds, Trash Warrior as a whole is excited to take on the responsibility of networking with amazing companies and doing so in a way that also has a positive impact on the environment.

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