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Chinese startup sees future in smart trash cans amid pandemic

Townew contactless waste bins automatically change bags and separate refuse

Townew Intelligent Technology produces three lineups of self-sealing, self-changing smart trash cans. (Photo courtesy of the company)

BEIJING -- Chinese smart hardware startup Townew Intelligent Technology has raised tens of millions yuan (tens of thousands of dollars) in a series A round led by manufacturing company Intretech, with Ocean Capital as a financial adviser.

Townew's first funding came from Beijing Hainabaiquan Investment Fund Management in 2017, followed by an angel round led by LionRoar Capital, Yuhe Capital and others in early 2018. It also raised 10 million yuan in a pre-series A round led by e-commerce giant in 2018.

Founded in 2014, Townew focuses on environmentally sound lifestyle products, like smart trash cans, some of which feature automatic packing and changing systems with infrared sensors for contactless opening and closing of the lid.

Other products include garbage separation and packaged deals that come with a year's supply of trash bags suitable for a variety of home settings.

Townew's smart trash cans target middle-class users in China's first- and second-tier cities.

According to Townew founder Matthew Xu, the business model focuses on selling consumables in the form of dedicated cartridges for changing trash bags, thereby increasing customer spend. As a result, the percentage of cartridges to total sales has increased from 8% to 30%.

Many companies have developed smart trash cans, but Townew is the only one with fully automatic waste bins and cartridges. With more than 500 patents on smart trash cans and cartridges, Townew has first-mover advantage and technical prowess in the area, Xu said.

Townew plans to develop smart trash cans targeting pregnant mothers, babies and pets.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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