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  • Circular Nation

AMP Robotics

Developer of advanced recycling infrastructure intended to apply AI and automation to increase material reclamation.



Company Overview

While you might not think much about the trash you take out every few days, waste management is a cross-cutting problem with far-reaching effects, encompassing multiple global concerns, including health, climate change, and sustainable production and consumption. At the forefront of waste management automation is AMP Robotics, which has developed a breakthrough waste sorting system leveraging AI and automation technologies:

  • AMP's technology recovers recyclables from municipal collection, high-value components from electronic scrap, usable materials from building and demolition debris, and feedstocks from organic waste.

  • AMP’s Cortex high-speed robotics system can automatically identify recyclables from various waste streams and sort them accordingly. By learning to recognize materials' unique colors, textures, forms, sizes, patterns, and even brand labels, the AMP Neuron AI platform can efficiently process large volumes of waste.

  • AMP's Neuron directs the robots to sort the recyclables and put them in the appropriate bins. These processes occur at a rate much above that of a human being and with a precision that unveils their 24/7 availability.

  • AMP Neuron’s deep learning capabilities enable the identification and classification of paper, plastics, and metals by color, size, shape, brand, and other characteristics to be continuously enhanced.

  • AMP’s sorting system can pick up more than 80 items per minute, almost twice as fast as a human sorter. So far, AMP has recorded as many as 150 picks per minute with its tandem units.

  • AMP Neuron vaults the most extensive real-world dataset of recyclable materials for machine learning. It can categorize over 100 types and features of single-stream recycling, e-scrap, and building and demolition trash and recognizes over 10 billion pieces yearly.


Quick Stats

  • Website: http://www.amprobotics.com

  • Headquarters: Louisville, CO

  • Year founded: 2015

  • Headcount: 300

  • Business model: B2B

  • Capital raised: $239.78M

  • Current Valuation: $571.21M

 

Market Opportunity

Let's keep this simple.


1. Global waste levels have risen steadily.

  • Americans discarded 51m tons of plastic in 2021, and almost 95% ended up in landfills, oceans, or scattered in the atmosphere (Guardian).

  • By 2050, global municipal solid waste will reach 3.4 billion metric tonnes, representing a 70% increase. This is attributable to population, urbanization, economic, and consumer buying behaviors. (Statista).

2. Growing waste volumes result in more significant emissions and environmental degradation.

  • Today, the waste sector produces about 20% of worldwide methane emissions (RMI), one of the more harmful greenhouse gases.

  • Improper waste management greatly hurts animals, as Marine Insight indicates that approximately 1,000,000 seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die annually from plastic ingestion.

3. Existing waste infrastructure is overburdened and faces growing waste-stream complexity.

  • Inbound recyclable material contamination has increased since the advent of single-stream systems, where recyclables are collected in one bin. This contamination can range from irregular items that need to be removed manually, such as diapers, to flexible packaging, such as plastic bags.

  • To process disparate waste streams, sites must spend heavily to modernize their facilities. Yet due to the long-term waste processing contracts in place with municipalities, waste companies cannot sufficiently raise prices to cover the increasing costs.

With processing facilities ill-prepared to handle growing waste complexity, a modular solution that helps parse, categorize, and process incoming waste streams is well-positioned to have an outsized effect on the industry.

 

Due Diligence

What I Like

  • Market need: Rising populations, increasing industrialism, and a culture of consumerism have driven waste volumes to record levels. Existing waste processing solutions are ill-equipped to handle materials in an efficient and sustainable manner, resulting in high-value recyclables being sent to landfills. A versatile and transformative solution is needed to bring waste processing into the modern age, and AMP Robotics is well-positioned to fill that need.

  • Investor consortium: AMP Robotics has raised substantial capital from a consortium of reputable investors, including Blue Earth, GV, Sequoia Capital, and Closed Loop Partners. As economic conditions soften and the fundraising landscape worsens, having a dedicated group of backers with large checkbooks is increasingly valuable.

  • Broad applicability: AMP Robotics solution set can be applied in various settings, including municipal solid waste, construction and demolition, e-waste recycling, agriculture waste management, and industrial waste management. With global waste volumes at record highs, AMP’s addressable market feels limitless.


What I'm Concerned About

  • Adoption challenges: Innovation in waste recovery has come slowly. Contaminated waste streams, antiquated technology, and a reliance on manual sorting have limited the effectiveness of existing facilities. Though AMP Robotics offers a solution, heavy investment will likely be needed to adapt existing sites to an automated format, with additional change likely required in upstream and downstream processes. AMP’s modular product offering should aid in adoption, yet a complete shift to automated waste processing will require time and capital and necessitates buy-in from numerous stakeholders.

  • Shifting investment landscape: Rising interest rates and economic uncertainty will be a brisk headwind to the company, as potential customers will view any capital expenditure with a critical eye. The era of cheap money is over, and site improvements that may have been an easy sell in 2020 will now be much more challenging.

 

What Do You Think?

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