Closing the Loop: Metaloop Raises $17M Series A Led By FirstMark For Metal Recycling Marketplace

4 min readSep 19, 2023

Written by FirstMark’s Rick Heitzmann (Founder & Partner) and Derek Chu (Principal)

We at FirstMark are thrilled to announce our Series A investment in Metaloop, a groundbreaking marketplace for metal recycling based in Austria, a manufacturing hub for the $4 trillion metal industry (which is accountable for 7% of global carbon emissions). We’re proud to partner with Co-Founders Jan Pannenbäcker and Alexander Schlick, who have built an all-in-one managed marketplace for businesses to buy and sell scrap metal, thereby improving both bottom lines and dramatically reducing carbon emissions.

FirstMark has a storied history of investing in iconic marketplaces like Pinterest, Airbnb, StubHub, DraftKings, and Discord. We’ve been honored to work alongside the visionary founders of these companies and recognized many of the same attributes in Metaloop: network effects, high retention and organic growth, customer love, marketplace liquidity, and a virtuous cycle that drives increasing benefit for both the supply and demand sides of the Metaloop marketplace.

The next legendary marketplaces are being built today, and we’re proud to play an early part in their story.

A Liquid Metal Marketplace

The global secondary metal industry is currently a $58B market (growing 8% annually), which enables manufacturers around the globe to build everything from cars to buildings. To meet this growing demand, millions of tons of frequently used metals like steel, aluminum, or copper are mined from the ground (primary) or recycled (secondary). Recycled Metal is also called Scrap Metal, which is the metal waste byproduct from manufacturing processes and consumers. Scrap can be endlessly recycled, which conserves natural resources, reduces energy consumption, minimizes pollution from mining virgin metals, and reduces production costs.

Metaloop powers the recycling of scrap metal via its two-sided marketplace:

  • Supply: OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and their suppliers produce massive quantities of scrap metal through their manufacturing process, which they want to sell and recycle at a strong price with low operational complexity.
  • Demand: Scrap Processors (like smelters, foundries or steel mills) buy scrap metal instead of virgin metal, and produce semi-finished products like coils or bars, which can then be sold back to the OEMs.

Metaloop sits in the middle and matches scrap supply and demand around the world based on parameters like volume, price, and purity. It provides a full-service solution for buyers and sellers by aggregating and verifying inventory, listing transparent pricing and matching qualifying bids, offering competitive financing solutions, and organizing delivery through its logistics network.

Every manufacturing process is unique, so no scrap metal is the same. Metaloop’s user-generated content creates a system of record and standardized layer that never existed before because of these idiosyncrasies, similar to how Airbnb created standardization for unique attributes of homes. This allows buyers from around the globe to make offers on supply that they previously weren’t aware of and couldn’t access.

Backing ‘Scrappy’ Founders

Jan and Alex met in Vienna in 2015 and bonded over their shared passion as environmental entrepreneurs. Alex previously ran and grew a local scrap metal business in Austria, where he developed the valuable industry experience and relationships that inspired him to digitize his family business, the precursor to Metaloop. Jan was the Co-Founder/CEO of GOOD Wear, a drop-shipping e-commerce business in sustainable fashion.

The founders went door-to-door onboarding suppliers and bootstrapping marketplace liquidity one happy customer at a time. They offered scrap metal that couldn’t be found anywhere else, at the most competitive pricing, with end-to-end transport and a delightful user experience. Soon, top-tier OEMs came knocking, and since then, they have only increased their business with Metaloop.

As we’ve seen with other successful marketplaces, Metaloop’s liquidity flywheel is leading to more quality supply, higher availability, and lower search costs for demand, which in turn attracts more bids and financial liquidity for suppliers.

This virtuous cycle creates network effects that become increasingly valuable to both sides of the marketplace while reducing costs and impact on the planet.

Forging Ahead

The traditional linear model of consumption and disposal is no longer sustainable. Secondary metal recycling presents an opportunity to disrupt this pattern by creating a closed-loop software platform that reduces the need for primary metal extraction and lessens the burden on our environment while enabling Suppliers and Buyers to “do well by doing good.”

Metaloop is doing its part: scrap is more carbon-efficient than primary metal, up to 95% less energy-intensive, and infinitely recyclable. By promoting the reuse and recycling of metals, we can both conserve valuable resources and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of metal production.

Please join us in closing the loop and forging the path ahead. If you are a Supplier, Buyer, talented candidate looking to make an impact, or just want to help, head over to Metaloop’s website and follow them on LinkedIn.

If you’re an early-stage founder building a new marketplace, please reach out. With $1.1bn of fresh capital, we are open for business and excited to meet you!