Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2015

Rubicon Global

by William A. Sahlman and Hunter Ashmore


The case describes Rubicon Global, a startup that aimed to disrupt the waste management industry. The company started with a bold idea: create a cloud-based, full-service waste management company providing low-cost, highly efficient, and environmentally friendly service anywhere in the country through a national network of independent waste haulers and recyclers. A player in the sharing economy, Rubicon was developing an on-demand mobile application that did for waste management what Uber had done for taxi service.
Rubicon had made great progress since introducing its service. They had signed up large multi-national customers and had a number of large potential contracts in the negotiation phase. The team needed more capital to build out the network and technology platform. Management and the board had to make a number of critical decisions: how much should the company raise, for what purpose, from whom, and on what terms?

Keywords: entrepreneurial finance; rubicon; rubicon global; waste management; Startups; disruptive technology; Technological Innovation; Disruptive Innovation; Market Entry and Exit; Entrepreneurship; Wastes and Waste Processing; Business Startups; Corporate Finance; Service Industry;


Sahlman, William A., and Hunter Ashmore. "Rubicon Global." Harvard Business School Case 816-015, November 2015.