Apkudo, a Baltimore startup advancing the circular industry by managing the lifecycle of devices, said Wednesday it has closed on $37.5 million in Series C funding. The round was co-led by New York’s Closed Loop Partners’ Leadership Fund and Piper Sandler Merchant Banking. Other investors include MissionOG (Philadelphia), Harbert Growth, Grotech Ventures (Owings Mills, Md.), Lavrock Ventures (McLean, Va.) and Point Field Partners (Baltimore).
“Velocity, accuracy and transparency are required attributes of efficient, effective circular supply chains,” said co-founder and CEO Josh Matthews. Apkudo has built an automated platform to manage the lifecycle of devices, and acquired customers such as FedEx, Amazon and T-Mobile.
“There is so much value within the connected devices already in the market today,” said Martin Aares, head of Asset Management at Closed Loop Partners. “Increasing their useful life and keeping these valuable materials in circulation, and out of landfills and the environment, is a critical part of accelerating the circular economy.”
Building the circular economy is a vital component of Closed Loop Partners, a registered B Corp. Its Center for the Circular Economy addresses complex material challenges and implements systemic change to advance circularity. One of its operating groups runs 12 recycling facilities, providing holistic and circular materials management.
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Founded in 1984, Grotech Ventures is a prior investor in Apkudo. So far, the firm has raised over $1.4 billion, and made over 150 portfolio investments and 40-plus exits. Its recent portfolio investments include SunStone Credit, Tellius and CrowdStreet. Last year, Grotech made three exits — Perishable Shipping Solutions, Urjanet and Youreka.
Industry veteran Lawson DeVries has served as Grotech’s managing general partner since 2020. He focuses on investments in software and tech-enabled services companies. He has been closely associated with a number of Grotech portfolio companies that have been acquired, among others, by giants such as Cisco and Oracle. DeVries sits on the boards of Apkudo, Ceros and CrowdStreet.
DeVries started his career with equity research at Deutsche Bank, and later managed sales at Buckingham Research Group. He has a BA in English literature from Harvard University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Josh Matthews co-founded Apkudo with Ben Leslie, an engineer he met when the two were studying at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Later, both worked at Open Kernel Labs, an Australian developer of technology for embedded systems, before starting Apkudo in late 2010. Matthews has previously founded two startups in Australia. Leslie serves as Apkudo’s chief technology officer.
Apkudo has developed an operating system that manages the complete device lifecycle, easing such problems as recycling, re-use and resale. Its Circular Industry Platform leverages both hardware and software technology to optimize each of those processes. One mobile carrier squeezed out savings of $100 million by using Apkudo’s platform, while a global logistics company cut warehouse processing times by 30%, the company said.
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Matthews said the firm’s customers are urging Apkudo to expand beyond mobility — a market consisting of over 6 billion phones — and provide similar lifecycle management for computers. Last year, Apkudo said it doubled revenue on the back of such growing interest from industry players grappling with a multitude of connected devices.
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Piper Sandler managing director Seth Harward said Apkudo’s value proposition lies in the answer to one basic question: “What should I do with this device, right now?” Apkudo has created the answer to it by building a solution that customers need, he added.
Baltimore-based Point Field Partners, another investor in Apkudo, has made a total of six portfolio investments. Led by President Ryland Summer, its recent investments include Craft.co, Delfi Diagnostics, Clear Skye and Veralox Therapeutics.