Chicago-based circular economy startup Rheaply, which provides software to manage physical assets and share resources, has acquired the Materials Marketplace platform from the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development, it announced Monday.
Rheaply largely sells its software services to customers — large corporations like Target and AbbVie — so they can exchange reusable items and materials like furniture and equipment internally, thereby reducing waste and potentially shortening procurement wait times.
Conversely, Materials Marketplace has been focused on creating a broader exchange with small businesses and government agencies, including cities and local nonprofits, with 2,200 partners currently engaged across regional operations in Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, Ontario, Michigan and Washington. The acquisition “will lead to rapid expansion,” Rheaply announced. Under Rheaply, the platform will be free to use and the company will charge a processing fee on transactions.
In addition to connecting more entities with Rheaply, the Materials Marketplace deal also provides existing customers with a platform to externally share items that will no longer be reused internally.
“Rheaply’s integration of their technology platform will elevate the circular economy to transform how building and manufacturing waste is recovered and reused, where one organization's hard-to-recycle waste and byproducts becomes another organization's raw material for furnishings, new development projects and product fabrication,” the announcement said.
The more geographically oriented platform joins Rheaply’s ranks as the company pursues a goal of offering its reuse platform in 50 U.S. cities by the beginning of 2024.
“Every city has a massive problem when it comes to the built environment and C&D waste,” founder and CEO Garry Cooper said. The announcement cites manufacturing, construction and demolition of materials as a significant source of emissions.
Rheaply announced a partnership last year with the city of San Francisco for a local online resource exchange. It’s currently in a soft launch, Cooper said, with a more formal rollout likely in January or February.
“As cities try to get their climate action plans together, try to get to net zero — having a reuse program around the built environment [and C&D waste] is a necessary component,” Cooper said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cooper said one of the co-founders of Materials Marketplace previously took a job at Rheaply, which helped facilitate conversations about the platform’s future.