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Matt Rogers readies Mill for growth with new food waste bin

Photo illustration of Matt Rogers and an image of the Mill product surrounded by abstract shapes.

Mill CEO Matt Rogers. Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Mill

Climate entrepreneur and investor Matt Rogers is trying to do with his food waste startup Mill what he did with his smart thermostat company Nest: disrupt a boring but impactful category with good design.

Why it matters: Food waste is a massive climate, economic and societal problem, and contributes to some 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Driving the news: Last Thursday Mill, the startup Rogers co-founded and leads, started selling its second-generation food recycling device, which is faster and quieter at grinding down a home's food waste into dry grounds that can be consumed by animals or composted.

  • The second-generation Mill device uses all aluminum inside to make it more energy efficient and a new grinding system that reduces its operating time to 2.5 hours, from 6 to 8 for the first-gen device.
  • Mill also revamped its supply chain for the second product, shifting it toward North America and making it easier to rapidly grow production, says Rogers.
  • "Scale is the number one goal," for Mill in 2024, Rogers says.

Catch up quick:

  • Mill started shipping its first food recycling device less than a year ago last April, and Rogers says Mill sold about 10,000 units last year.
  • To fuel potential growth, San Francisco-based Mill, founded in 2020, is "extremely well capitalized," according to Rogers. Axios reported last year that Mill had raised about $70 million toward a $100 million target for a Series C round led by Prelude, with participation from Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
  • Rogers says that future Mill growth could come from working with cities and waste managers, and future products could be for the commercial market, like restaurants and cafeterias.

Meanwhile, Rogers doesn't just lead Mill, he's also a climate tech investor through his firm Incite, which has quietly backed over 100 companies, with tens of millions of dollars.

  • Rogers' former startup Nest was acquired by Google in 2014 for $3.2 billion, making it one of the biggest climate tech acquisitions to date.

Big picture: Rogers wanted to focus on food waste because it's a vast and totally underserved sector.

  • A third of all the food that is produced is wasted, and American families generate more than half of all the food waste produced in the U.S.
  • Check out our deep dive on food waste from November.

What's next: With Mill's new product and hefty funding, the company is prepped for major growth.

  • Now the firm will need to prove that more consumers want to buy a high-end food recycler.
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