- RoadRunner Recycling, a growing tech startup, has acquired Compology, described as “the world’s largest waste and recycling smart metering technology company.” Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Pittsburgh-based RoadRunner provides collection services through third-party haulers in 40-plus major cities and all 50 states. The company has seen its headcount double to nearly 600 employees within the past year.
- San Francisco-based Compology is known for its metering technology that uses cameras in waste and recycling containers. The company’s 150 million data points it has captured from these devices are expected to help RoadRunner “further enhance recycling rates, lower carbon emissions, and enable accurate ESG reporting.”
The ongoing push around sustainability reporting and recycling targets has created an opening for a new class of tech-centric companies in the waste industry. This deal is a unique combination of two startups that have been focusing on artificial intelligence and related technologies to bolster their respective capabilities.
Founded in 2014, RoadRunner works with outside haulers (in vehicles ranging from cargo vans to heavy-duty trucks) to collect material from commercial and industrial clients. While it offers a variety of collection services managed through its platform, the company has also been known for an initial focus on source-separated recycling collection. According to RoadRunner, it has now diverted more than 300,000 tons of material from disposal across over 12,000 accounts and helped customers save close to $50 million on their waste and recycling services.
The concept has attracted interest from investors, most recently with $70 million in Series D funding from BeyondNetZero announced at the start of this year. RoadRunner’s total funding at the time was $129.5 million. Founder and CEO Graham Rihn said this investment played a role in pursuing the Compology acquisition as part of its strategic growth plan.
“One key element we identified as part of that plan was the need to employ world class technology to bolster our data insights. Having a strong balance sheet, which the Series D contributed to, put us in a strong position to aggressively pursue our strategy and acquire Compology’s world class waste and recycling metering capabilities and data expertise to enhance our platform,” Rihn said via email.
Compology, a B Corp founded in 2012, has raised nearly $39 million of its own to date and has seen increasing adoption by well-known waste haulers, local government entities and large commercial clients. Its technology helps track volume levels within large containers, the type of material inside and when the container was last serviced. The company’s employees, including co-founder and CEO Jason Gates, are expected to continue working with RoadRunner. In a statement, Gates described the deal as “a monumental step toward making cost-effective, sustainable waste management a reality for organizations.”
Some of Compology’s customers include private-sector haulers that could be competitors to RoadRunner, but Gates said “we are excited to continue to partner with all of Compology’s customers and are committed to continue providing the great services they are used to” moving forward.
Compology was also working in other areas such as scrap recycling and C&D recycling, which are not a current focus for RoadRunner. Rihn said those customers will still be supported and “these other areas will be on our radar” for future opportunities.
As for what the deal will mean for RoadRunner’s customers, the company didn’t specify whether Compology’s technology will offer any new pricing or service opportunities. Broadly, Rihn said the deal “will create the most technologically advanced, comprehensive, and sustainable waste management solution” for customers. RoadRunner confirmed its own technology offerings did not previously include proprietary camera or metering capabilities.
“While RoadRunner, to date, uses industry and customer specific data along with proprietary algorithms to predict service needs, adding Compology’s waste metering technology enables us to be even more precise, monitor and make changes in near real-time and also enables us to capture not only missed pick-ups events, but also to monitor for contamination,” said Rihn.
Investment in tech-focused waste companies has been active in recent years, as seen with examples such as Trash Warrior starting out with its own Series A round announced this week, Rubicon Technologies going public in August and Recycle Track Systems closing a Series C funding round last year.