October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

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 Chicago startup Rheaply raises $2.2M from Microsoft climate fund, MIT

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
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The Story

Rheaply, a Chicago startup that specializes in recycling and sourcing unused items, has raised new funding from Microsoft and MIT.

The startup, led by CEO Garry Cooper, landed $2.2 million from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund and MIT Solve’s investment arm, Solve Innovation Future.

Founded in 2015, Rheaply has set out to strengthen the “circular economy,” a term used to describe an economic system that maximizes the use of resources and eliminates waste.

The company has built a resource-sharing network that helps organizations recycle and source items in a number of industries, including higher education, health care, technology, government and retail. The idea is to expand the circular economy and create a more sustainable future that can help offset the effects of climate change.

With the new funding, Rheaply plans to build a carbon-based reporting system into its platform that allows its clients to measure the carbon emission reductions resulted from using Rheaply.

“When we set our company commitment to become carbon negative by 2030, we knew that we needed to chart a course that would enable other organizations to follow,” said Brandon Middaugh, the director of Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, in a statement. “For us, that means investing in innovative climate solutions like Rheaply’s.”

To date, Rheaply has raised more than $12 million. Earlier this year, the startup raised an $8 million Series A round, led by High Alpha, an Indianapolis-based venture capital fund.

Cooper started the foundation for Rheaply while completing a PhD in neuroscience at Northwestern University by developing a system for university labs to swap and sell unused lab equipment to each other.

Now the startup, which is a Techstars Chicago 2018 alum, offers its service in a subscription model to businesses and organizations across industries. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for Rheaply’s service accelerated.

Last year, Rheaply teamed up with the City of Chicago, World Business Chicago and Northwestern University to source personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

The startup also landed a contract with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to help government entities, like the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force, streamline the redeployment of military property.

Since launching, Rheaply says it has helped organizations divert over 15 metric tons of waste and save millions of dollars across 5,000 transactions. Other clients include Google, AbbVie, Exelon and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Source: Chicago Inno – Chicago startup Rheaply raises $2.2M from Microsoft climate fund, MIT

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