The Credit Junction interviewed Nate Morris, the Co-founder and CEO of Rubicon Global. Recognized as one of Forbes Magazine's '40 Under 40', Nate co-founded Rubicon Global to help match independent local garbage haulers with multi-national clients, and lets them schedule on-demand pickups for their trash through a proprietary technology. In addition to reducing waste and recycling costs for their customers, Rubicon Global places a central focus on empowering small businesses.
1. How is Rubicon Global transforming the waste management industry? How is technology changing the industry?
Rubicon is disrupting the toughest industry in world: garbage. We’re building a new model, making it less expensive and more responsible.
Technology was the breakthrough. We created a cloud-based platform called Rubicon X that analyzes our customers’ waste streams and makes sense of all the data on haulers, clients, and recycling possibilities. This allowed us to connect our customers to a national network of independent haulers and introduce competitive pricing. We’ve also developed a mobile app for haulers built on our cloud-based platform. These innovations are completely realigning incentives. We’re finding significant savings and sustainable opportunities for our customers and its giving a big lift to independent haulers and recyclers.
We’re a huge advocate for the independent waste hauler. They face tremendous challenges in competing with the big national companies that have dominated the waste industry for generations.
We believe that we can make the greatest impact on the hauling and recycling communities by providing them with the opportunities that they wouldn’t have by themselves. We treat the haulers and recyclers as members of our family and as partners. We have the ability to make changes that the larger companies cannot, and we can make them at the independent level, which could take years for a larger company to accomplish. This is where we can have a tremendous impact on long-term innovation and long-term partnership for the space.
2. As someone who helps and speaks to small business owners, how would you describe the small business landscape in the USA today?
It’s a really challenging environment. That’s why it’s so rewarding for us to be involved in helping to build small businesses all over the country. Our mission is to democratize the waste industry and give small and mid-sized independent haulers the tools and the opportunity to succeed.
Recently, we launched Rubicon Pro, which is a membership-based digital network for haulers to source and buy the items they need to run their business at a discounted price. We’re also giving them access to growth capital through our partnership with The Credit Junction, which is a really exciting program.
3. What are some of the biggest challenges that business owners face in your industry?
The independent hauler faces tremendous challenges in competing with the few multibillion-dollar giants that have ruled our industry. Often the independent hauler has been displaced, because it lacks the scale and the national footprint to compete. Rubicon is helping to level that playing field.
4. When you look at the small business landscape, it is said that minority-owned businesses are going to become the majority in the next five to 10 years. How do you see this trend affecting the waste management and recycling industry?
Waste is close to home – everyone has trash. It’s a main street issue that hits Middle America. We’re thrilled to give local, independent haulers a better opportunity to compete in this industry.
But, also, landfills are typically built around minority communities, people who are economically depressed or who have been displaced. I have seen communities that are completely ransacked by landfills. Our model is aligning incentives away from the landfill and we’re committed to solving this problem.
5. For small business owners in your industry, what are the advantages of being a part of Rubicon Global?
It’s simple: we connect independent haulers to new customers and help them grow their business. And our Rubicon Pro suite helps provide the infrastructure, tools and technology they need to succeed.
We will continue to be the advocate for the independent hauling and recycling communities by helping them find new opportunities and be more profitable.