Noman Ahmed, from Pakistani origin, met his Brighter Bins co-founder Imdad Laskar in Belgium, where they are headquartered. With 22 people today, we thought it was time to catch up.
Could you tell a bit more about Brighter Bins and how it is doing?
We make smart sensors for waste collection. Currently a lot of empty bins are being collected. That means unnecessary routes driven by trucks with fixed schedules and the accompanying CO2 emissions.
Brighter Bins puts sensors in these bins. The sensors tell the collection company which bins are full and the software creates a dynamic route plan. This is more efficient, in cost as well, and is better for the environment due to reduced CO2 emissions resulting from cutting the unnecessary truck routes.
Technology wise we are very innovative. The sensor will keep working for 5 to 6 years because it operates on a battery. It’s not very expensive and the life span is long enough. The second part of the solution is the software.
Let’s say in your city there are 500 bins with 5 trucks. You are probably collecting too much every day. Our system will predict that tomorrow you will only need to collect 200 because only 200 will be full. The system will suggest you to use less truck routes and it will suggest routes per truck. That is how you save around 40% of the cost.
Or, let’s say there is a sunny day in Amsterdam. Crowds will come to the city center and bins will overflow as a result. Garbage companies currently can’t optimize for this situation and the city might look like a garbage dump. We also predict these types of things. We can predict for the company: this part of the city will have bins overflowing. Then they can proactively draft a plan.
Today we have 10.000 sensors in installations in Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and Nordic countries. We have been in the market for 3-4 years now and are working with big waste companies. Last year has been very good, especially on the sales side. We won an interesting project for 11.000 bins in Edinburgh, Scotland. An additional amount of sensors in production is going to France.
Is this solely a public market solution?
No, it is suitable for industrial and commercial waste as well. We work with a company in Belgium that collects waste oil from restaurants like McDonalds and KFC. They are optimizing costs by our solution as well.
Are you raising funds at the moment?
We are raising 3 million euros. We are talking to investors from Fundsup and funds from the UK & the US.
The most important part of the money raised will go to expanding the sales and marketing team in different countries. Next to that we are implementing smart cameras for large waste dumpsters. So part of the funding would be hiring engineers to improve machine learning & AI technology for this new product.
What kind of investors would be a great fit?
We are not just looking for money, we are looking for a strategic fit as well.
We are interested in investors from the US since we have expansion plans for that market.
We feel it would help market penetration there if we have an investor onboard with market connections there that could help us scale up our sales.
What would be your advice to other founders?
The difference made in any startup is the perseverance of the founders. It will be a bumpy road. It is not smooth. The one who will stick it out will win the race. You should just continue. That would be my advice to my fellow founders.
For more information on Brighter Bins we invite you to look at their profile on Fundsup: https://api.fundsup.co/go/USqxAEqSP