ecoATM Raises First VC Round, Coinstar Founder Joins Board

ecoATM, a San Diego-based provider of automated systems for recycling consumer electronics, has raised an undisclosed amount of first-round funding led by Tao Venture Partners. Also participating was Coinstar founder Jens Molba, who has joined ecoATM’s board of directors


ecoATM, the only company to provide automated systems for recycling consumer electronics, announced today that Coinstar founder Jens Molbak has joined the company as a board member and investor. The company also announced that San Diego-based TAO Venture Partners led this first institutional round of funding in ecoATM.

Mr. Molbak founded Coinstar, Inc. in 1989 and, as CEO, took them public in 1995. Coinstar recently acquired DVD kiosk company Redbox and today is the leading provider of automated retail solutions offering convenient products and services that make life easier for consumers and drive incremental traffic and revenue for its retailers.

“ecoATM is a compelling business opportunity,” said Mr. Molbak. “I am delighted to be both an investor and board member. Similar to Coinstar, ecoATM’s unique, self-service approach unlocks a substantial market, delivering tangible benefits to retailers, consumers and society as a whole. ecoATM has a clear vision and an exceptional management team. I believe we have an exciting future ahead.”

“Jens has been a key advisor to ecoATM over the past year, and we are really looking forward to his closer involvement on our board through the next growth phase,” said Tom Tullie, ecoATM CEO, president and chairman.

Tao Venture Partners, a San Diego-based early stage investment fund, led the first round of investment. (Financial details are confidential.) Tom Clancy, managing director of TAO Venture Partners and former program manager for ATM and kiosk development for Citibank NA, joins the board as well. “Heretofore, eWaste recycling has been inconvenient and costly as evidenced by the hundreds of millions of old devices still sitting in consumer’s drawers at homes,” said Mr. Clancy. “The overwhelming response to initial market tests convinced us that ecoATM’s approach will enable a 10-fold increase in recycling. We are very pleased to be involved in this exciting and worthwhile enterprise.”

About ecoATM

Based in San Diego, CA, ecoATM provides a convenient in-store trade-in solution that benefits consumers, electronics retailers, and consumer electronics manufacturers. ecoATM is the only company to develop patent-pending, automated eCycling stations that electronically and/or visually inspects virtually any consumer electronic device, connects them with secondary market buyers and recyclers through pre-auction/auction systems, and administers trade-in promotions for retailers and manufacturers.

Since starting its pilot programs this fall, ecoATM has won several noteworthy awards:

  • Selected in Q4’09 as evoNexus incubator company;
  • Connect’s Most Innovative Product Award in the CleanTech category;
  • Coinstar’s Next Big Idea Contest; and
  • San Diego Venture Group’s Tenth Annual “‘Pitchfest.”

About Tao Venture Partners

Tao Venture Partners is a venture capital group specializing in early stage Media, Commerce, Analytics, and Software as a Service (SaaS) company formation. Tao provides management, strategic relationships and initial funding to transform ideas into institutionally funded companies. Portfolio companies include The Active Network, Brightcloud, ecoATM, and Paraccel.

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