A Startup Turning Trash into Treasure

Here at Listia, we think that reusing and recycling goods is a better idea than throwing old stuff away and buying new all the time.  However one of our fellow Y Combinator startups, Tuxebo is taking this idea to the extreme and using it to finance their bootstrapped startup by recycling and selling waste from dumpsters. We found the story so interesting, we just had to share 🙂

We first met the Tuxebo founders during the summer of 2009, and they are some of the hardest working startup founders you’ll ever meet. Their company, Tuxebo is a rental marketplace allowing users to search for stuff to rent locally. Users can compare hire prices, book and manage their hires online. It’s essentially an expedia for stuff to rent. Initially it focused on scaffolding and container hire but then it moved into what British people call skip hire.  Yes ladies and gents, it’s an online first, they started as an online marketplace for dumpster rental initially focusing on skip hire in London but then extended their reach to cover skip hire in Birmingham and other large UK cities.

Dumpster Diving

Recently Tuxebo received a request from a property company who wanted to hire a skip in Manchester .  Their enquiry said they were clearing a showroom of 16 kitchens made of granite, marble and appliances. The Tuxebo founders got together and agreed they would offer to remove the kitchens themselves for free.  They jumped in the car, drove to the warehouse and measured up the kitchens.  Two days later they were on ebay and two week later Tuxebo had netted £60,000 to help fund their startup out of recycling kitchens.  They set out on a 4000 mile road trip last week around the UK delivering these themselves and 7 days later are now moving out of their offices in Birmingham (an abandoned mental home where they pay pennies for rent) and moving to new offices in central London.

Most people think of recycling as an after thought and a cost.  Tuxebo saw recycling these kitchens as an opportunity to to trade up in true Listia style.  We hear Tuxebo just moved into toilet hire.  I think we’ll draw the line in recycling there though.



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