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Recycleye, provider of the most advanced and robust AI-driven solution for sorting dry mixed recycling, announced today a $17M Series A round, led by deep-tech venture capital firm DCVC and with the participation of Seaya Andromeda.

Recycleye uses AI-powered waste-picking robots to lower the cost of sorting materials. This ground-breaking technology is turning the world’s waste into a resource and delivering data essential for dynamic decision-making in a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). The new investment will be used to further improve the uncommon accuracy of Recycleye’s sorting.

In addition to DCVC and Seaya Andromeda’s participation, existing investors Promus Ventures, Playfair Capital, MMC Ventures, Creator Fund and Atypical joined the round and increased their stakes. The Series A round follows $5M previously raised in 2021 and $2.6M secured to date in European and UK government innovation funding.

Recycleye’s technology combines computer vision and robotics to pick with more consistent accuracy than a human. Using proprietary AI models, the robot “sees” waste and is trained to pick an unlimited number of material classes such as plastics, aluminium, paper, and cardboard.

Recycleye Robotics is the most accurate and efficient AI robotic picking solution globally available today. Objects are scanned and identified at an unrivalled 60 frames per second. This is twice as fast as the industry standard and means that each item is seen on average 30 times as it passes along the conveyor belt, with double the chance of being accurately identified before picking.

Recycleye was developed for use with the waste generated by households and businesses and is able to operate 24/7, 365 days a year, currently picking up to 33,000 items per robot over a 10-hour shift, while capturing compositional data to enable strategic decisions by plant managers. Recycleye is working with a growing number of waste management companies facing the two-fold challenge of labour shortages and increased costs while responding to the growing demand for quality recyclates.

Rory Brien, General Manager of FCC for re3, in Reading, England, said, “At FCC, we believe in being forward- thinking, so investing in the latest waste sorting technology was an obvious choice. Recycleye Robotics delivers the consistent purity in sorted material and reliable data that we need to run an effective facility”.

Today, many materials cost more to sort than they are worth and are therefore downcycled: in 2022, the OECD reported that only 9% of plastic has ever been recycled, with around 50% going to landfills. Changing this wasteful and environmentally damaging dynamic, seen across a range of materials, presents a tremendous business opportunity.

A small team of Recycleye engineers is able to retrofit the company’s technology into existing sorting facilities –over a weekend if needed to minimise plant downtime. Installed at the end of the sorting process, Based on the clients’ requirements, Recycleye robot models can pick contaminants and valuable objects, both of which may have been missed earlier in a plant’s sorting process.

Recycleye was co-founded in 2019 by CEO Victor Dewulf and CTO Peter Hedley, and its technology is installed in facilities in England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Australia, the US and France, with multiple robot orders confirmed in Italy and Belgium.

The Recycleye team has grown to 33 experts and includes graduates of Cambridge, Caltech, Imperial College London and the Universities of Bath, Warwick, Cardiff, Sheffield and Southampton, as well as engineers from Politécnica de Madrid. The team boasts a wealth of experience in software, machine learning, robotics, engineering, project management, technical sales, HR, and marketing, drawn from sectors including oil and gas, energy, telecoms and technology.

“We believe that waste does not exist, only materials in the wrong place,” said Hedley. “Our mission is to provide intelligent sorting technology that delivers dramatic financial and environmental returns to the global management of waste. This new investment will help us to further fine-tune our world-leading solutions, underpinned by the solid maintenance network our clients need to generate more output value”.

“The opportunity for applying AI waste sorting technology to the global waste management sector is staggering, even when only 8% of waste is currently recycled,” added Dewulf. “With this investment, we can scale our operations to target a market which we estimate to have a SAM of $114bn globally today, but with the potential to increase by 14 times to $1.6Tr when the cost of sorting is reduced”.

Pablo Pedrejón, a partner at Seaya Andromeda, said, «At Seaya Andromeda, we are committed to investing in companies that are addressing climate change. Recycleye’s mission to provide intelligent sorting technology, which delivers financial and environmental returns to the global management of waste, aligns with our values, and we are excited to support them in their efforts to scale their operations and make a significant impact. We can’t wait to turn the world’s waste into resources alongside Victor, Peter, and the whole Recycleye team.»

“Recycleye is a quintessential DCVC investment, using deep tech to fundamentally shift the economics and scale of the trillion-dollar problem of material recovery and recycling.”, added Kelly Chen, a Partner at DCVC.

Recycleye is a ground-breaking technology company bringing advanced machine learning, computer vision and robotics to the global waste management industry. Their proven Recycleye Vision and Robotics solutions increase plant performance, enabling data-driven strategic decision making and delivering transparency, traceability and efficiency.

Installed in locations across Europe and the United States, Recycleye, clients rely on Recycleye to add value to their sorting operations through increased purity and outputs. With this in combination with their proprietary research WasteNet –the databases at the heart of their image detection capabilities– Recycleye are reinventing the economics of recycling.

Seaya Andromeda is the largest ClimateTech Venture Capital in Southern Europe. With €300M assets under management, Andromeda is an SFDR Article 9 fund on a mission to address global sustainability challenges and deliver profits with purpose through investments in technology-driven companies focusing on Energy & Decarbonisation, the Circular Economy, and the Sustainable Food Value Chain.

Seaya Andromeda is a fund of Seaya –the leading European and Latin American Venture Capital platform, with offices in Madrid, London and Mexico City, that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs who are building global technology companies. Seaya raised its first funding in 2013 and currently manages over €600 million across five early-stage venture funds. Seaya accelerates the growth of startups by leveraging the founder’s strategic vision, providing them with Seaya’s global platform, its extensive network of founders, investors and multinational corporations, as well as all its experience in the global expansion of companies such as Glovo, Cabify, Wallbox (NYSE:WBX), Spotahome, Clarity AI, Clicars, Alma and RatedPower.

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