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Waste removal startup hauls in $8M in funding

Illustration of two dump trucks dumping piles of money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Trash Warrior, a startup that matches companies with waste haulers, has raised $8 million in pre-Series A funding, the company exclusively tells Axios.

Why it matters: E-commerce and other consumer companies produce mountains of waste via packaging. New businesses such as Trash Warrior are emerging to address the issue.

How it works: Trash Warrior's customers include Amazon warehouses, Instacart, a military contractor firm and eco-conscious diaper startup EarthBaby.

  • Customers use the company's software to book a trash-hauling service from a network of local providers for a pre-set fee, of which Trash Warrior takes a percentage as revenue, similar to on-demand services like TaskRabbit. Trash Warrior says it fills the gaps left in more rigid contracts with larger waste-removal companies.
  • Trash Warrior is running a pilot program in Philadelphia, where it uses data it has amassed from its network of haulers about waste disposal sites' capabilities to recommend where waste be disposed.
  • Not all facilities are capable of handling large quantities of recyclable or compostable materials, and Trash Warrior is hoping to prove it can improve the overall rate at which waste is routed to the right facility with its Philadelphia pilot.

Details: AltaIR Capital led the majority-equity round and received a board seat as part of the deal, which valued Trash Warrior at $42 million.

Zoom out: Waste Management, Republic Services and Waste Connections are the three largest waste removal companies in the U.S. and have a combined market cap of roughly $1.45 trillion.

  • Local providers — small mom-and-pop or guy-and-truck operations — often fill the gaps by answering Craigslist ads for junk removal at corporate sites when it falls outside of the enterprise contract of larger companies.
  • Trash Warrior CEO Lily Shen says Amazon has a large enterprise contract with Waste Management, but was looking for a more flexible waste removal option that could better adjust based on the unpredictable truck delivery schedules.
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