London-based AI recycling startup Sorted raises £1.65M in funding to solve material sorting gap

Amidst growing global concerns over environmental sustainability, London-based recycling tech startup Sorted has emerged as a beacon of hope to combat the global waste crisis. Sorted announced today it has secured £1.65 million in seed funding to lead the charge in transforming how we approach recycling.

The round was led by Pi Labs, with participation from a consortium of investors including Archipelago Ventures, Circular Plastics Accelerator, Conduit Connect, Antler, and several angel investors.

With a staggering 2.12 billion tonnes of waste dumped annually worldwide, the need for innovative solutions has never been more urgent. Governments are intensifying pressure to curb single-use materials and boost recycled content, yet the waste industry grapples with the intricate challenge of sorting materials efficiently, resulting in a missed opportunity estimated at $133 billion.

Sorted is revolutionizing waste management by empowering human pickers to enhance sorting accuracy and recover targeted materials effectively. Leveraging advanced technologies such as computer vision, spectroscopy, and AI-driven colored lasers, the company’s solution identifies, differentiates, and precisely locates valuable items on recycling lines. This ingenious fusion of AI with physical sorting processes heralds a new era in waste management.

The impact of Sorted’s technology is already evident, with a remarkable 50% improvement in residual waste recovery achieved in its initial application. Rather than being consigned to incineration, each recovered item represents additional revenue potential for Sorted’s clientele while concurrently reducing carbon emissions.

Among Sorted’s esteemed clientele are some of the largest waste management and recycling firms across the UK and France, including SUEZ UK and Cawleys, attesting to the startup’s burgeoning influence in the industry.

Founded in 2022 by Arthur Goujon and Luis Espinosa, Sorted embodies a fusion of expertise in waste management and technology. Goujon’s extensive experience spans over 15 years in the waste management sector, notably serving as Head of Digital at global waste management behemoth SUEZ. Espinosa brings a wealth of experience in scaling tech unicorns, having played pivotal roles in the growth of industry giants like Uber, Rappi, and DiDi.

“Our mission is to help waste management companies sort their waste more effectively and maximize recovery of recyclable materials through aiding Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and Plastic Recovery Facilities (PRFs) in improving their workforce efficiency. We use AI to augment and better enable human pickers, and our UK pilots show increased revenue and performance as well as reduced costs through using Sorted’s technology,” Sorted co-founder and CTO Goujon said.

Arthur Goujon, Co-Founder and CTO of Sorted, expressed enthusiasm for the company’s mission, emphasizing their commitment to enhancing waste management efficiency and maximizing recyclable material recovery. He highlighted the tangible benefits witnessed in UK pilots, including increased revenue, enhanced performance, and reduced costs attributable to Sorted’s technology.

The latest funding infusion is poised to catapult Sorted’s expansion efforts, bolstering both business development and technical capacities to accelerate their go-to-market strategy.

Faisal Butt, Founder and Managing Partner at Pi Labs, underscored the urgency of innovative solutions in navigating towards a zero-waste economy. He lauded Sorted’s transformative impact, citing their creation of “super pickers” as a digitalized, sustainable solution to waste management challenges while advancing the circular economy agenda.

Fred Stinchcombe, Production Regional Manager at SUEZ UK, hailed Sorted’s pragmatic approach to leveraging technology to add value to waste management operations. He identified Sorted’s understanding of operational dynamics and technology integration as pivotal in addressing the industry’s evolving needs.

In essence, Sorted emerges as a trailblazer in the quest for sustainable waste management solutions, poised to redefine the landscape of recycling through technological innovation and operational excellence.