Online recyclables trading marketplace Safi began operating in the U.S. in recent weeks, seeking to digitize and streamline the process of moving bales from MRFs to processors.
The London-headquartered firm was founded in August 2021 as TrueCircle, and company leaders rebranded it as Safi in May 2023. The company provides an online platform for buying and selling recyclables and is currently used in 15 countries.
In November, Safi began operating in the U.S., company Founder Associate Tom Sellers told Resource Recycling by email. U.S. platform users have completed transactions totaling more than $250,000 since then, Sellers noted. U.S. brokers have traded OCC, mixed paper and used beverage cans (UBCs) over the platform. Globally, it’s used to trade paper, plastic and metal commodities. The company recently began offering e-scrap trading options in Europe and plans to do the same in North America in 2024, Sellers said.
Safi on Nov. 24 announced it has raised $19.5 million in investment funding, much of which will go toward expanding the company’s presence in the U.S. and Canada throughout 2024, Sellers said. Safi will be hiring its U.S. team in early 2024.
The company’s marketplace seeks to solve multiple problems the company sees in the world of recyclables trading. In a release, the company said the industry is “held back by a lack of quality control, financing and digital transaction management tools.”
Safi offers quality control in the form of a visioning system installed on a MRF’s sorting line. The system uses artificial intelligence to analyze the composition of recyclables coming down the line, including paper and plastic. That information is available for sellers to track and improve their quality, and to demonstrate reliable quality data to buyers, Safi explained when it launched the service in 2022.
Business Insider on Nov. 24 published a funding pitch memo from Safi, which outlined additional points within the recovered materials trading industry the company wants to improve. The memo described a landscape in which most transactions are offline and paper-based, a majority of recovered material sales are spot transactions (one-time sales between a buyer and seller) versus long-term contracts, and it’s difficult to find new buyers and sellers entering the market. The company believes its digital platform improves these points.
This story has been updated with the correct former name of the company. It is TrueCircle, not TrueCycle.