(Austin, TX) Oh Austin, the city of innovation. And by that of course we mean stealing other people’s ideas and claiming them as our own. It was here that legends have been born and it is here that legends come to die. Amidst all of this chaotic energy, business thrives. As the start-up world has expanded, the city of Austin has grown with it. In today’s piece we will take a look at a new start-up that is aiming to recycle all of those gross rubber bands you had to wear with braces. Remember those? We sat down with the CEO to hear more about their journey to a 500 million dollar evaluation.
Wayne Jarbles, CEO of Recyclobands, sits down in his office and takes a minute to water his planet before turning his attention to me. Without prompting, Wayne raises his arms to indicate the surrounding futuristic office space and says, “So what do you think of our space? Pretty rad right. We just moved in after that first check cleared. I was like ‘Bless up,’ you know?”
We chatted for a few minutes about the long journey of life, but then we just got right into the meat of it. I asked him how the company started and he launched into a monologue. “Well, I had this rad idea for the brand name Recyclobands. I just thought it sounded like a cool company, something people could get behind, you know? But then I was like, ‘What kind of a company would it be?’ And that was a tough one. I mean, what’s a name without something tied to it? But then, I thought about the two words I had mashed together and things began to take shape.”
He continued, “You see, back when I was a kid, I had braces three different times. The doctors called my mouth a ‘hellscape’ and described working with me as ‘the waking scream.’ I hated the entire experience and for years resented that time. The one thing that pissed me off the most was all of these damn rubber bands that I had left over. I realized that there needed to be something we could do with all of these rubber bands that me and everyone who ever had braces needed to get rid of.”
At this point, I was tired of him and trying to leave his office. The rest he yelled at me while I waited for the elevator. “But I didn’t have the recycling idea at first. No, the first time we spoke with investors I was trying to say we should string all of the rubber bands together to see how far it would go for some kind of world record. Unfortunately, they didn’t go for this idea at all, even though it wouldn’t really cost that much. Next, I tried to tell them that people could eat the rubber bands as a way to help their stomach move along. That was immediately debunked and cost me another fortune, but I didn’t give up. That’s what makes me a winner.”
Finally, the last bit of our time together. It may not be verbatim because he was shouting this to me as I drove away and there was a lot of other noises. My bad. “I decided I needed to clear my head to really figure out what Recyclobands was going to be about. I mean, obviously it would be a dope company, I just had to figure out what. I met with my spiritual guru and he told me to go to Peru. I went there and met a man by the name of Aiko who told me that the world was ending. I used his enthusiasm about death to propel me forward and aim us in a new direction. I guess that’s all we needed because the money’s been rolling in ever since then.”
I barely made it out with my life, but I got the story. The scoop. And if you have any leftover braces bands, send them to Recyclobands!
This article was written by Nathan Ellwood, who wants to meet David Lynch so that he can be cursed for all time. Follow him into the stars @NPEllwood.