Smash & Grab Glass Recycling: Geoffrey Galitzine
The four founders of the glass recycling firm discuss starting a business at 50+
Company name: Smash & Grab Glass Recycling Ltd
Founders: Geoffrey Galitzine, Chris Waldron, Ian Glencross & John Gordon
Age: 50s & 60s
Based: West London
Staff Numbers: 9, including directors
Date started: Company formed January 2006. Commercial launch June 2006
Tell us what your business does:
S&G provides a full glass recycling service to licensed retail establishments (LREs) such as restaurants, wine bars, pubs, hotels and clubs. This includes the provision of the company's own designed and patented, glass compaction machine which is rented to LREs, situated on their own premises and operated by their own bar staff.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Over 90% of LRE waste glass is not yet recycled. All existing services employ very large non eco-friendly trucks. The huge volumes of glass generated each day by LREs require very frequent collections, yet these trucks are carrying mostly the air in the bottles. We designed a glass crusher that is compact in size and therefore able to fit into a wide number of hospitality venues, yet still able to take 15/20 wine bottles at a time and easy to operate. We felt the industry would welcome this route to recycling.
What were you doing before starting up?
All four founders had senior management roles before starting S&G: two in the financial sector, one in engineering and one as a patent attorney. Two have completed a successful start-up before S&G.
How did you raise the money?
The company was funded entirely, until recently, from the four founders' own resources, plus banking and leasing facilities. However, capital investment in assets – in our case very expensive specialist glass collection vehicles – was always going to be a major limiting factor for us before we had sufficient customers to cover the leasing costs. It's a chicken and egg situation. However, we have recently been awarded a grant for the full cost of our first specialist vehicle from the enhance Capital Fund. This has been a major boost to our ability grow our recycling business rapidly and at significantly lower company risk
What has your growth been like?
Very strong after the initial working-up period. In the first year of operations we collected just over 200 metric tonnes of glass for recycling. After the first three months of our second year, we started collecting at the rate of 800 tonnes per year.
Are you where your business plan said you'd be?
A little behind on time but rapidly catching up.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
A major waste recycling company operating right across the UK and with distributors of the machine across Europe and in the United States – we have patents on both areas.