I’ve got to admit, the respective pedigrees of Glacier’s founders are a bit unexpected for a recycling robotics company. Areeb Malik used to be a software engineer at Facebook, and Rebecca Hu worked at Bain and Company.
But the firm, which has thus far been operating in stealth, has already attracted the attention of some key names, including former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, former Uber CPO Manik Gupta, and Climate Tech VC co-founder, Sophie Purdom. The trio participated in the startup’s just-announced $4.5 million seed round, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
The funding will go toward increasing headcount and accelerating the system’s commercial deployment. Founded in 2019, Glacier has run a number of pilots. More recently, it launched its first commercial system at a facility in Los Angeles.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how massive an issue recycling is. It’s something a lot of smart people have been working on for a very long time — and yet, there are still major stumbling blocks when it comes to reclaiming and repurposing the unthinkable volumes of waste humans create every year.
“Glacier‘s technology has benefited from not only Areeb’s AI experience at Facebook, but also our incredible team of interdisciplinary robotics and AI engineers,”
This is one of those spaces where robotics can really shine. It’s full of thankless, dirty, and repetitive tasks — precisely the sort of things that are perfectly positioned to be automated. Advances in things like computer vision and machine learning have made these devices increasingly well-positioned to take on the task.
There are a number of companies already operating in the space. Colorado-based AMP is probably the best known, while big companies like Apple have their own in-house system designed to strip iPhones down to their reusable parts. Glacier says its advantages are three-fold: low cost, small size and easy install.