Lexington-based Rubicon goes public on New York Stock Exchange in $1.7B deal

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Lexington-based Rubicon Technologies, a top digital marketplace for waste and recycling, went public on Tuesday with a stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange (RBT) and a reported enterprise value of $1.7 billion.

Rubicon avoided the traditional IPO, or initial public offering to shareholders. Instead, it took itself public through a SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company, a listed shell company with which it merged.

The transaction is expected to result in $432 million in cash proceeds, which will be used to fund growth at the company, according to a statement the SPAC issued July 25. Rubicon anticipates $736 million in 2022 revenue, up from $583 million the previous year, according to the same statement.

“This is a great day for Rubicon, a company I started right here in Kentucky with a $10,000 line of credit and maxed out credit cards,” Nate Morris, Rubicon’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

Nate Morris is CEO and co-founder of Rubicon Technologies.
Nate Morris is CEO and co-founder of Rubicon Technologies.

“It is a great day for Kentucky,” Morris added, “because it shows that a world class technology company can be founded and thrive right here in the commonwealth, and that innovation isn’t limited to the East or West Coasts.”

Rubicon — which has been called “Uber for trash” — uses a software platform to more efficiently link businesses and governments to a network of 8,000 hauling and recycling partners in 20 countries worldwide. According to Rubicon, clients include Walmart, Apple, Starbucks, Chipotle and FedEx, as well as Kansas City, Mo., Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio.

Rubicon was founded in 2008 as an innovative waste broker and swiftly grew as investors poured money into it. In June, the company announced that it was moving its global headquarters to downtown Lexington’s City Center. Previously, its leadership offices had been in New York.

“Lexington is proud to be home to Rubicon’s headquarters,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said in a prepared statement on Tuesday.

“The company’s decision to locate here was an important milestone in the growth and development of our tech sector,” Gorton said. “As recycling and sustainability become more and more critical to our world, the need for Rubicon’s digital solutions for waste and recycling grows.”

Other Kentucky-based companies that are publicly traded on the NYSE or elsewhere include insurance giant Humana Inc.; Yum Brands Inc., owner of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut; chemical company Ashland Global Holdings; distiller Brown-Forman Corp.; mattress maker Tempur Sealy International; restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse Inc.; and Valvoline Inc., a maker and distributor of oils and lubricants.