According to the World Bank, Indonesia produces 4.8 million tons of plastic waste each year that is “mismanaged”—meaning it ends up uncollected, chucked into dumpsites or leaked from improperly managed landfills. Octopus wants to reduce that number with a platform that makes it easier to collect back waste products from consumers and recycle it into raw materials that brands can reuse. The Jakarta-based startup announced today it has raised an oversubscribed round of $5 million led by Openspace and SOSV.
Octopus was founded last year by Mohammad Ichsan, Hamish Daud, Niko Adi Nugroho, Rizki Mardian and Dimas Ario, who have known each other for over a decade.
After recently launching in Jakarta, it will use its new funding for “aggressive expansion,” including five sorting facilities and 1,700 checkpoints in four cities: Jakarta, Bandung, Bali and Makassar, with the aim of handling 380 tonnes of waste, ranging from plastics to electronic appliances, each month.
Ichsan said one reason he founded Octopus was because he returned to his parents’ house in Makassar for a holiday, and found that a landfill 30 kilometers away emitted an unbearable stench, especially considering that he had a newborn daughter.
“I wondered what kind of world she’s going to live in,” he told TechCrunch. “Apparently this problem is not happening in certain cities, but also in other cities in Southeast Asia so I started to explore more of the business by doing manual waste trading and trying to solve the problem one step at a time, starting with reducing recyclable waste that ends up in landfills by doing manual waste trading.”
Around that time, Ischan met co-founder Daud, who had the same concerns and had been doing research about ocean waste.
Octopus also points to…