(c) Unsplash - Hans Ripa
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About Wastics GmbH

  • Founders: Markus Himmelfreundpointner (CEO), Stefan Schott (COO), René Heinrich, Matthias Thallinger, Kerstin Ortbauer
  • Founded in: 2021
  • Employees: 4
  • Money raised: Self-financed
  • Ultimate goal: Creating a digital solution for measurably increasing the circular economy across Europe

In the start-up Wastics, a team with proven expertise in waste and resource management has come together. Markus Himmelfreundpointner and Stefan Schott laid the foundation. One works in his own waste management company and the other was responsible for materials management and waste disposal in a waste-generating company. Both experienced the high administrative and cost effort involved in managing waste – especially if it is to be sustainable. With the tool they developed together with their three other founders, they want to simplify processes and increase recycling rates in the industrial sector. In this episode of the Start-up-of-the-Day series, Stefan Schott talks about the project and the challenges of founding a company.

Wastics founders seated on a couch
The Wastics founding team (from left to right): Matthias Thallinger, Markus Himmelfreundpointner, Kerstin Ortabauer, René Heinrich, Stefan Schott (c) Raphael Fasching.

What is your motivation?

“There are several problems we want to solve with Wastics. Waste-generating companies incur a high administrative and cost burden in managing their waste. Challenges include finding suitable recycling options and disposal companies, documentation, communication with disposal companies, compliance with legal regulations, et cetera.
In addition, waste management usually only considers economic aspects. Companies lack knowledge about the environmental impacts caused by waste collection and treatment, which is why they do not take them into account.

The potential to turn waste into a resource is far from being exploited. Yet it’s important, especially now, to recycle and turn waste into a resource locally to combat climate crisis, resource scarcity and economic dependence on foreign resources.”

How would you describe your digital solution?

“With the help of Wastics, companies can manage their waste and resource flows, find legally compliant disposal and recycling solutions, and increase their cost efficiency and environmental performance in the process.”

“Our core innovation lies in the digitalization and greening of waste management. With our tool, businesses can ecologically evaluate different disposal solutions and identify recycling potential. This can then be used as the basis for intelligent matchmaking of suitable players to create sustainable value cycles – and ultimately increase recycling rates.”

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

“Currently, our biggest challenge is time compatibility. Almost all of our cofounders have other professional commitments in addition to working at our start-up. However, with securing more funding, this will soon change.”

What achievements have made you really proud?

“What’s nice is the positive feedback, reflected, among other things, in the fact that we were voted among the TOP10 most climate-effective start-ups in the Greenstart program of the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund. Also, the fact that we continuously receive job applications and now also employ several volunteers makes us proud and shows that we are on the right track with our solution to increase the recycling rate.”

How difficult was it to get funding?

“At the moment, we are still self-funded. But there are a few funding applications under review right now and we expect to receive funding of about €400,000 within the next year. We’re also currently in talks with initial investors and business angels.”

What are the conditions like at your location?

“While digitalization is gaining momentum in the Austrian waste management industry, there is still a lot to do. Digital solutions could still significantly increase transparency and efficiency. Also, the increasing trend towards circular economy in Austria suits our project.”

Where would you like to be with Wastics in five years – what is your ultimate goal?

“In five years, we would like to be active not only in Austria, but also in the wider European market. Our goal is to increase the recycling rate of industrial waste in Europe and to make a measurable contribution to climate protection and resource conservation. Our ultimate goal is to make Wastics THE standard solution in sustainable waste management.”

What makes your innovation better or different from existing things?

“Above all, our ecological approach sets us apart from other products on the market. We use our ecoScan to evaluate the environmental impact of competing disposal options. This enables customers to ensure that their waste has the lowest possible environmental impact with every order.

While other solutions focus only on individual aspects of the waste management business, we offer an all-in-one solution for a circular economy. In the Wastics ecosystem, companies will be able to handle all waste and resource-related activities completely digitally in the future.”

Are you hiring?

“We are looking for full-stack developers to support our IT team. We also welcome applications for volunteer positions.”

Want to read more posts about start-ups? You can find more installments of this series here.