DENVER — AMP Robotics Corp. announced today that it has raised Series A funding of $16 million, which it plans to use to scale up operations and develop artificial intelligence products to make recycling more economical.
In 2017, China restricted imports of waste from the U.S., saying they didn’t meet contamination standards. As a result, the need for economical and environmentally sustainable domestic recycling rose as trash piled up.
AMP Robotics applies AI to waste sorting, expands deployments
AMP Robotics’ high-speed Cortex system is designed to precisely automate the identification, sorting, and processing of material streams to extract maximum value for businesses that recycle municipal solid waste, e-waste, and construction and demolition materials. The company said its robots consistently pick twice as fast as humans and with much greater accuracy.
The AMP Neuron AI platform uses advanced computer vision and machine learning to continuously train itself by processing millions of images and adapting to changes in a facility’s material stream, said the company. It can recognize different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, patterns, and brands to identify material characteristics.
AMP Neuron digitizes the material stream by transforming millions of images into data on what goes in and out, so informed decisions can be made about operations and performance. The AMP Insights Web-based data-management system offers insights and alerts to operators so they can optimize their business even further. In May, AMP launched a dual-robot Cortex system to increase productivity.
AMP Robotics recently installed 14 AI-guided robots at Single Stream Recyclers LLC in Sarasota, Florida, in what it said was the single largest global deployment in the recycling industry. The robots are installed on different sorting lines throughout the facility, processing plastics, cartons, fiber, metals and other materials.
In addition, AMP Robotics has installations at numerous facilities in California, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, with more planned.
Investors support recycling robots
The global market for waste-sorting robots will experience a compound annual growth rate of 16.4% between 2019 and 2024 to reach $12.24 billion, predicts Goldstein Research.
Sequoia Capital led AMP Robotics’ round, joining BV, Closed Loop Partners, Congruent Ventures, and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP). Shaun Maguire, a partner at Sequoia, will join AMP’s board of directors.
“We are excited to partner with AMP because their technology is changing the economics of the recycling industry,” stated Maguire. “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.”
“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. “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.”
SIP spun out of Sidewalk Labs, one of the largest seed investors in AMP Robotics, and it is backed by Google parent Alphabet Inc. and the 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.