Entrepreneurs often turn every nook and cranny of a home or garage into a space for product testing or experimentation.
For the team behind WasteWizer, the pandemic turned a co-founder’s backyard pool area into a prime lab spot for figuring out how to weigh tons of trash.
WasteWizer is an Atlanta-based startup leveraging real-time data to improve the waste management industry. Their container monitoring system works on roll-off containers and dumpsters in order to help customers and waste companies alike understand what is going into a container.
The idea grew out of co-founders Mark Lucas’ and Jay Brenner’s previous work in the waste industry and seeing the inefficiencies around tracking waste inventory. Traditionally, retailers, restaurants, and businesses don’t know the weight of trash inside industrial containers until the content is brought to a landfill, even though they are charged based on the number of pickups and overall weight. Large containers typically get picked up on a set schedule and not necessarily based on optimial fullness. This leads to lost fuel and manpower during every pickup.
Their technology, Brenner says, allows for “predictive dispatch” in the waste industry. Through either a deploy-at-will bar sitting under the container, or a roller attached directly to the container, customers can use WasteWizer’s app and dashboard to monitor weight to make better business decisions around waste.
The problem they are trying to solve is definitely big. The U.S. waste collection industry is valued at $53 billion, and the U.S. market for dumpster rentals in 2020 hit nearly $419 m.
Building out of Georgia Tech
As a Create-X Startup Launch and ATDC Accelerate Company, WasteWizer is yet another Atlanta-based IoT startup with strong Georgia Tech roots. WasteWizer’s other team members Thomas Spencer and Patrick Doyle both attended Georgia Tech for undergrad (Spencer went on to earn his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Institute). Spencer credits the Georgia Tech Create-X program with teaching the young team the fundamentals to solve a real-world business problem.
“[Create-X] helped prepare us for the point when you meet people like Mark and Jay who have a business problem. You learn what questions to ask and how do you get that first minimum viable product that you can bring to someone and say ‘hey, this might solve your problem.’”
Pilot testing is currently in process Georgia-based companies with Peachtree Waste, Redbox+, and the city of Peachtree Corners’ Curiosity Lab. The team also gained city-wide recognition as a semifinalist in Atlanta Startup Battle 2020.
Moving Beyond Trash
While the team sees value in providing real-time data to waste haulers and their customers, the last few months gave them time to really understand what it was that customers needed from their product.
“From customer discovery and talking to other entrepreneurs, we learned that the deployment time for our built-on roller was way too long,” said Brenner. This helped the team develop the bar version of the product (viewed above).
They also see use cases for their technology in railroads and trucking companies in order for teams to track and weigh heavy products in real-time.