Fortune has learned that Rubicon Global, an Atlanta-based waste management startup, has acquired RiverRoad Waste Solutions, a New Jersey-based waste and recycling company.
This is a rather surprising move as Rubicon has long marketed itself as the “Uber for trash,” and being a waste brokerage is a descriptor that the company has long resisted.
RiverRoad Waste is a registered waste broker, meaning the company brokers agreements between business customers and trade waste removal companies.
One investor who passed on the company several times told me that Rubicon seemed like “a trash brokerage business masquerading as a tech company.”
At the ‘pre-IPO stage:’ Rubicon has hinted at an IPO since 2015 when Rubicon CEO Nate Morris told Fortune that its new CFO “Could help position this business to be a public business in the near future.” That didn’t happen, and Rubicon went on to raise new rounds of funding.
In its most recent Series E press release, Mark Fennell, the NZ Super Fund’s acting chief investment officer, confirmed Rubicon is at a “Pre-IPO” stage, saying it’s glad to “Support growth companies such as Rubicon that, while established from a technology point of view, are pre-IPO.”.
As I’ve said before, Rubicon is not a trivial startup-it’s valued at more than a billion dollars, with hundreds of millions of dollars raised and a history of talking seriously about an IPO. The company is a reminder that big ambitions, positive press, and slick marketing are not enough to stop investors and reporters from asking the hard questions.