How do you get more people to recycle? Pair it with that great American pastime: shopping.
Every year, the Wall Street Journal puts out a ranking of the top ten venture-backed clean-tech companies based in the U.S. with “the greatest potential to succeed.”
The top ranked company this year is Recyclebank, a rewards program for recycling.
Recyclebank customers earn points by actions such as “pledging to recycle Kashi cereal boxes” (15 points), referring a friend to the program (10 points), or watching a MillerCoors video about its sustainability efforts and taking a quiz (30 points). Customers can trade points for coupons and discount offers such as free cans of cat food (75 points) or $2 off a bottle of Naked Juice (50 points).
The company partners with local governments (in 29 states and the U.K. so far) and with waste haulers and businesses that offer rewards.
In a video posted with the Journal’s story, founder Ron Gonen says, “rather than going to investors with just an idea, we actually went and built the business first.” According to the Journal, Recyclebank has raised $70 million from investors including Coca-Cola Bottling Group, Generation Investment Management, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and plans to go public in 2013. It was founded in 2004.
The top 10 clean-tech ranking was announced last week at the Journal's ECO:nomics Executive Conference in Santa Barbara, Calif. According to the Journal, “candidates were analyzed on the amount of capital raised in the past three years; the track records of each company's founders, managers and investors; and the percentage change in its valuation in the 12 months ended Nov. 30.”
Today, the Journal published its ranking of the top 50 US venture-backed companies across all industries, drawn from more than 5,700 candidates. The number one company on that list is Castlight Health Inc., “a San Francisco firm whose technology allows consumers to run side-by-side comparisons of out-of-pocket medical expenses.”