Friday, April 6, 2012

Startups: Talking Trash, Making Cash

From Venture Wire:
Waste Management Inc., the country's largest processor of trash, wants to reuse everything, and it's looking to start-ups for help.

"We don't do R&D in-house," said David P. Steiner, the company's president and chief executive, in an interview on the sidelines of The Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, Calif., recently.
Instead, the company is investing in technology start-ups as it pursues a goal of converting all of the waste it collects into usable products such as fuels and chemicals.

Waste Management has so far invested between $300 million and $400 million in such deals, Steiner estimated. It completes six deals per year on average and draws on corporate capital as needed. Waste Management had $2.5 billion in net cash at the end of 2011 and recorded $13.38 billion in revenue for the year.

Its portfolio of about 25 companies includes Agilyx Corp., which converts mixed plastics into petrochemicals; Enerkem Inc., which is making ethanol out of municipal solid waste; Genomatica Inc., which is developing chemicals out of municipal solid waste; MicroGreen Polymers Inc., which has a product that reduces the use of plastic in packaging and other products; and Recycle Rewards Inc., which organizes programs in cities to encourage people to recycle....MORE