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When Greyparrot joined Digital Catapult’s Machine Intelligence Garage, the team knew that it would receive valuable support with artificial intelligence (AI) acceleration, as well as $100,000 of credits from programme partner Amazon Web Services to aid developing essential machine learning algorithms.

There was much more to be gained, however, as Digital Catapult also provided valuable support in understanding the investment landscape, and a credible platform from which to pitch Greyparrot’s solution to more than 100 investors. As a result, Greyparrot secured over £2.7 million in seed funding in 2020.

Greyparrot uses AI-powered computer vision to rapidly recognise, audit and sort large waste flows at scale. It analyses waste streams, monitoring and automating operations in sorting facilities to help drive efficiency and profitability for waste managers. The solution can be incorporated into smart systems and hardware, such as bins, trucks and robotics.

Benefits of the solution include:

  • Quality management of recycled materials, thanks to accurate measurement of purity levels
  • Insight and analytics to support increased recycling and recovery rates
  • Risk mitigation, through recognising and managing contaminants

The AWS credits provided by Digital Catapult were used to train Greyparrot’s first waste recognition system. During the 12-month acceleration programme, the team completed three pilots, and developed a minimum viable product. Like most participants, the company valued the benefits of peer support and the importance of sharing knowledge and ideas with other AI companies facing similar challenges.

Creating a compelling investor proposition

Preparation for the Investor Showcase included office hours with investors and a session on fundraising, as well as pitch practice and storytelling workshops, which the Greyparrot team found to be both intensive and impressive. This work successfully focused efforts for the investor presentation, and had the secondary benefit of helping the company hone their narrative and sales pitch.

The team met lead investor, Speedinvest, through an introduction made by Digital Catapult after the showcase.




Enabling global scaling

The investment round was led by Speedinvest, with participation from UK-based early stage B2B investor Force Over Mass. This investment, secured following the Investor Showcase, will support Greyparrot’s further product development and fund its expansion across markets in Europe and Asia.

Global recognition

Greyparrot continues to go from strength to strength, with its CEO and co-founder Mikela Druckman winning ‘High Growth Woman Founder of the Year’ at the Angel Investor Awards 2021, which recognise the exceptional leadership of female founders of high-growth UK businesses.

Meanwhile, Greyparrot was listed in the World Economic Forum’s 100 most promising global technology pioneers of 2021 – selected for its contributions in the field of sustainability and resource efficiency. The Technology Pioneer community represents the best of early to growth-stage companies globally that are involved in the development of new innovations poised to have a significant impact on business and society. The elite list of companies selected in the past includes Google, Spotify, Twitter, and Airbnb.

Greyparrot has also been recognised by private equity firm CB Insights as one of the top 100 most promising AI companies globally, alongside companies such as Graphcore, Tractable, and Onfido.

Finally, the company was recognised as one of six technology startups to watch in 2022 at the 2021 Digital Catapult Awards.

Series A funding round

In May 2022, Greyparrot announced that it had closed a $11 million Series A funding round – with investment led by Una Terra, and participation from Closed Loop Partners, SpeedInvest, 360 Capital, Archipelago Eco Investors, Sky Ocean Ventures and TI Capital. The funding will be used to enable Greyparrot to grow its global footprint, expand to new waste types, and boost research and development.

In the coming year, the company is on track to double its team, deploy hundreds of Greyparrot systems globally and divert 30,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.