New Zealand’s government has made a rare investment of $65 million into ‘Uber for trash’ startup Rubicon

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It’s usually other sovereign wealth funds, not New Zealand’s, making Silicon Valley headlines.

The sovereign wealth fund of New Zealand is making a rare direct investment into a U.S. startup, sending $65 million into the trash-and-recycling startup Rubicon Global.

The NZ Super Fund, a $38 billion fund backed by New Zealand’s government, told Recode on Thursday that it would make an investment in the Atlanta-based company. Rubicon was valued at more than $1 billion prior to this deal, its CEO has said.

It’s part of what Rubicon will soon authorize with the SEC to be a $140 million round of financing, $50 million of which Rubicon announced last year.

Rubicon, which calls itself the “Uber for trash,” connects businesses and cities that need their trash thrown away with independent contractors who haul it off the premises.

This investment reflects another international sovereign fund coming to the U.S. tech sector to invest directly rather than just investing in venture capital or private equity funds to do it for them. Late-stage Silicon Valley startups are meeting with more and more government-backed investors from the Middle East and Asia, but the large sovereign funds in Australia and New Zealand have been quieter.

The Super Fund has only directly invested in five U.S. companies before, according to PitchBook. It has invested in some private equity giants like KKR.

“It’s pleasing to be able to leverage our timeframe, scale and diversification to support growth companies such as Rubicon that, while established from a technology point of view, are pre-IPO,” said Mark Fennell, the fund’s acting chief investment officer.

Also important to a place like New Zealand, Fennell said, is Rubicon’s attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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