Circular economy entrepreneur and Muuse founder Brian Reilly passes away

The American former renewables executive described as an 'eternal optimist' by colleagues died age 41. The Singapore-based startup he founded in 2018 is to continue operations.

Brian Reilly
Brian Reilly conceived the idea of a shared cup system on a plane from Bali to Shanghai in 2018. He passed away last week. Image: Muuse

Brian Reilly, founder and chief executive of Singapore-based container reuse startup Muuse, has passed away.

The American circular economy entrepreneur was 41 years old.

Reilly conceived the idea of a cup reuse system while on a plane from Bali to Shanghai in 2018, and the platform, with a mission to end single-use plastic containers has since established operations in Singapore, Hong Kong and Toronto.

In a statement on Facebook, the company said it had “lost a star from our sky.”

“As a team we remember him for his eternal optimism, his energy, his belief in the best of everyone. He drew people to him and to Muuse and gave this project the ability to fly.”

“Revolv, and then Muuse, was his baby, and he carried so much passion for the project of reuse. He loved the company and the mission and we have so many wonderful memories of him, Revolv/Muuse cup in hand, scoot suit on, loving life.”

“Rest peacefully Brian. We’ll be borrowing a cup in your honour today.”

Brian Reilly

A tribute to Reilly posted on Facebook by Muuse. Image: Muuse

In another statement shared with Eco-Business, Muse described Reilly as “an eternal optimist” who was passionate about reuse and “always believed in the best of everyone.”

“We will miss him, and remember him, as we continue driving Muuse forward to make reuse a reality,” the company said.

Reilly was born in Somerville, New Jersey and started out his career in renewable energy. 

In 2002, he led a college initiative to measure wind energy potential at the Middlebury Snow Bowl ski mountain, which led to the installation of meteorological towers and wind monitoring equipment that is still in use today.

He started out his career developing large-scale wind energy projects in North America, and pivoted to solar energy in 2010. He helped to build and direct the renewable energy team for United States power firm NRG, and later moved to India and China to work in solar energy.

He founded Muuse, formerly known as Revolv, in 2018, and the startup was a finalist for sustainability innovation competition, The Liveability Challenge in 2019. Muuse aims to drive a circular economy for food and drink takeaway and delivery containers, enabling customers to rent drink cups and food containers and avoid single-use plastic.

Muuse has faced numerous challenges in operating in a pandemic, such as the closure of many retail outlets in the markets where it operates, and some brands withdrawing bring-your-own container schemes because of the perceived contagion risk. The company said that it will continue operations, despite the passing of its founder.

Muuse chief operating officer Jonathan Tostevin will take on the role of CEO.

Did you find this article useful? Help us keep our journalism free to read.

We have a team of journalists dedicated to providing independent, well-researched stories from around the region on the topics that matter to you. Consider supporting our brand of purposeful journalism with a donation and keep Eco-Business free for all to read. Thank you.

Most popular

Featured Events

Publish your event

More from People

Karen Lee, Head of Partnerships & Advocacy, Group ESG, AIA
Lee joins AIA from rival insurer MSIG Asia, where she led the sustainability function.
A coral nursery
The world has lost half of its coral reefs in 30 years. Malaysian oceanographer Anuar Abdullah has developed a simple, yet effective way to restore coral. He tells Eco-Business that no reef is the same, and successful reef rehabilitation depends on cooperation with local communities.
Youth Activist Speech
Youth should be involved in policy decisions that will dramatically impact their lives, says this 18-year-old climate activist. In this interview, she shares about the biggest environmental issues facing New Zealand, and what she’s doing to tackle them.
leaf background pattern

Transforming Innovation for Sustainability Join the Ecosystem →

Strategic Organisations

ESG Book
City Developments Ltd