After collecting 242,000 bags full of difficult-to-recycle items last year, the Sydney startup behind the Power Pickup initiative has raised more than $1 million on crowdfunding platform Birchal as it prepares to expand into the Victorian market.
This amount is similar to the current annual recurring revenue (ARR) of RecycleSmart, co-founded in 2019 by Giorgio Baracchi and Marco Prayer Galletti as part of the inaugural pre-launch cohort of early-stage venture capital firm Antler.
To date, the company has serviced two million Australians across 13 councils - mostly in NSW plus one in South Australia - and saved over 450,000 kilograms of soft plastics, e-waste, textile, polystyrene, batteries and more, from landfill.
The startup pitches its service as being "as easy as ordering a pizza", whereby users can book a collection through the RecycleSmart app. Over the past year alone, the business has grown more than 175 per cent and has received backing from Antler, Brisbane Angels and Prisma Capital.
Following the campaign's successful close late last night, Baracchi says the "power of the people is truly remarkable".
"With over 900 investors backing us, our community has demonstrated their unwavering support for our mission to revolutionise recycling. Together, we are accelerating Australia's transition to a more circular economy by diverting valuable resources from landfill," he says.
"The opportunities that lie ahead are truly exciting. With our successful crowdfunding campaign, we're now poised to open in major capital cities, starting with the official launch of Melbourne next week.
"This expansion will accelerate our offerings for businesses and allow us to expand the list of items we collect for recycling. This is just the beginning of our journey towards a better, more circular economy."
According to RecycleSmart, 70 per cent of Australians feel frustrated about being forced to landfill recyclable items due to the lack of accessible solutions. But there are now 10,000 active users of the company's app who are able to tackle this concern head on.
"We are a community-driven service: we contract local drivers to service local areas," says Baracchi.
"People not living in areas we service yet are asking our customer service team every day to extend our service. Launching a crowdfunding campaign just became the obvious choice."
Prayer Galletti says the funds will allow the company to not only confidently expand its service, but add more items to its growing list of recyclables, leverage AI to enhance the recycling experience, and "embark on numerous other initiatives".
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