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Circular Announces $10.5M in Funding to Scale First-of-its-Kind Platform for Sourcing Recycled Materials

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Closing a critical gap in the circular economy, the company will use the funding to expand its comprehensive platform and bring more companies and suppliers together to search, source and exchange recycled materials

SAN FRANCISCO, March 25, 2024-- Circular.co, the leading sustainable sourcing platform, secured $10.5M to expand its massive database of post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials and its accompanying platform that streamlines buying and selling of PCR materials. The financing includes a new $5.3M round, backed by Maniv, Oxygea, and Eclipse, which followed a $5.2M seed round previously led by Eclipse. Circular will use the funding to grow its team, expand to additional sustainable materials, continue to add more companies and suppliers, and deepen the scale and functionality of its platform.

The world’s leading companies and consumer brands – from sectors ranging from food & beverage to durable goods and automotive – are racing against the clock to meet their plastic reduction and net zero emissions targets by 2025 and 2030, in line with international agreements from the United Nations. Currently, signatories to plastic reduction commitments like The Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are likely to miss 2025 targets. Additionally, only 18% of companies are reported to be on track to reach their net zero emissions goal by 2050, according to Accenture. Sustainability and procurement teams tasked with meeting these goals have been plagued by the fragmented nature of the PCR market, which has resulted in ongoing issues and inconsistencies with price, quality, availability, and access.

“Many of the global Fortune 500 have set aggressive targets to use up to 50% ‘recycled resin in the coming 3-5 years,” said Eclipse Partner Aidan Madigan-Curtis. “Globally, we manufacture north of 400 million tons of plastic goods per year, which will require not only a mind-bending amount of PCR to source, but a complete overhaul of the supply chains and manufacturing processes used to procure plastic in order to meet these targets. In a world where procurement and product teams are expected to reimagine their supply chains almost overnight, Circular is the only single-pane-of-glass solution that can streamline the vendor identification, supplier qualification, specification standardization, quality assurance, and logistics to create consistency of supply, price, and quality to make PCR possible.”

Circular provides access to over 9,000 global suppliers with over 50,000 PCR technical records codified using artificial intelligence (AI), including details such as price, specs, and volume of materials, and supplier certifications. Its extensive database brings visibility and transparency to an – until now – disjointed, opaque, and illiquid industry. Circular handles the searching, sourcing, vetting, and onboarding process for its customers, with results in days compared to months or even years, using analog methods.

“Buyers transitioning to recycled materials face the typical challenges of an emerging, analog market rife with inefficiency and a lack of transparency. They can’t find the material they need, and if they can find it, it’s too expensive – and if they can afford it, there are often quality or consistency issues,” said Ian Arthurs, Founder and CEO of Circular. “Existing relationship-driven systems fail to provide the information necessary for buyers to make fast informed decisions, and on the flip side, suppliers have a hard time being discovered by and getting access to serious buyers. Circular unblocks these common issues using data and technology to help buyers and sellers navigate the global market efficiently. Armed with our data, buyers and suppliers make faster and smarter business decisions and simplify their process to get sustainable materials into production now.”

“As a trusted global brand, Danone is on a mission to improve the circularity of our packaging,” said Marcu Alexander, Manager, Packaging Sustainability at Danone. “Increasing the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in particular is critical to meeting our ESG goals. Large manufacturers need more efficient ways to navigate new PCR markets and Circular is taking an innovative approach there.”

The newly-enhanced platform includes new features such as:

• Explore – The first self-serve tool to see what PCR materials are available at specific specifications and prices anywhere in the world.
• Search – Where buyers can connect directly with suppliers through digital custom quotes.
• Procure – Helping buyers with everything from testing and onboarding and contracting to carbon footprinting and freight.

The funding follows recent company momentum, including several notable hires. Circular has brought on industry titans, Shannon Gordon, former Vice President of Customer Experience at Walmart Global eCommerce, and Rob Ianelli founder of Oceanworks, to help reach the company’s goal of transitioning the $600B plastics market to circularity. Arthurs is the former COO of TaskRabbit and Medium, and also previously held senior roles at Google and Airbnb.

In Q4 2023 alone, Circular sourced 35,000 tons of post-consumer recycled material with $43 million gross merchandise value, supported nine global brands, across four continents, and saved companies on average more than 10% vs. market price. The vast majority of PCR pricing came in under virgin plastic index prices, thus breaking the commonly-held belief that there is always a green premium in PCR. With the additional funding, Circular plans to grow in its current industry, expand internationally, and add additional sustainable materials including paper and metals, to continue to foster sustainable global trade.

Additional Quotes in the News

“In a nascent, highly fragmented PCR market, Circular.co’s platform can help address existing supply shortages. As brands increasingly prioritize sustainability, Circular offers a seamless marketplace solution to purchase PCR reliably. With a world-class, experienced team, Circular is poised to solve some of the unique requirements of the industry,” said Artur Faria, CEO of Oxygea. “Oxygea is the manager of Braskem’s $100 million corporate venture capital fund. Our investment in Circular aligns seamlessly with Braskem's circular economy objectives, and we look forward to supporting the company as it scales.”

"With guidance and support from the U.S. Pact, our members (called ‘Activators’) are demonstrating strong commitments not only to our collective PCR targets, but also their own individual PCR goals," said Emily Tipaldo, U.S. Plastics Pact Executive Director. "U.S. brands, including large manufacturers like Danone, have committed to adopting PCR to hit ESG goals and in doing so need help navigating new markets and new materials. We're excited that Circular.co, as one of our committed Activators, is delivering an innovative, data-driven approach to advance these goals. Their technology complements our own PCR Toolkit to help manufacturers navigate opaque PCR markets. By offering helpful resources, we can increase the adoption of PCR throughout U.S. manufacturing.”

About Circular.co

Launched in 2022, Circular is the leading sustainable sourcing platform, simplifying buying and selling of post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials through the world’s largest curated technical database. On a mission to power and expedite the industrial evolution to sustainable materials, we put information in the hands of manufacturers and suppliers to efficiently find the material they need. For more information and to arrange a demo, visit circular.co.

Contact:
Media Requests
Chelsea Ruka
Circular@inkhouse.com

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