Ground-breaking technologies including biological textile dyeing, microbial textile waste conversion and 3D-printed garments are just a few of the innovations to pick up significant funding in June. The steadily growing interest and tangible investment in biomaterials shows the momentum around achieving a more sustainable fashion industry continues to gain traction. Many of the innovators highlighted in this month’s article are working on technology which specifically aims to reduce waste in the fashion industry, a nod to an increasing focus on circularity. Find out who made the headlines last month.
Modern Synthesis Raises $4.1 Million USD to Displace Petrochemicals & Plastic Pollution From Fashion Industry
Biomaterial innovation company Modern Synthesis has raised $4.1 million in its seed funding round. The company, which is developing radical and regenerative material solutions for the fashion industry, will use the funding to accelerate the development of its proprietary microbial textile waste conversion platform and to open a pilot facility in South London. The company’s goal is to replace animal and petrochemical-based materials in the fashion supply chain by using bacteria to convert sugars found in agricultural waste into a weaveable nanocellulose material. The fabric is fully biodegradable and considered strong enough to replace many conventional materials. So far, Modern Synthesis has successfully printed a shoe upper using its microbial weaving technique. Investors in the round included Collaborative Fund, AgFunder, and former Jimmy Choo CEO Pierre Denis, with one “key sportswear customer” having signed up for prototyping.
UK-based biotech innovator, Colorifix, has announced the closing of its £18 million GBP Series B funding round. Led by the H&M Co:lab, the investment art of the H&M Group, the funding will be used to support the trebling of Colorifix’s team as it prepares to expand from the UK into Europe and Asia, and bring its technology into the supply chains of world-leading brands. Colorfix was founded in 2016 and has pioneered an entirely biological fabric dyeing process to produce, deposit, and fix pigments onto textiles, promising to help the fashion industry dramatically reduce its environmental impact. Clothing lines utilizing the Colorfix dye technology, which requires zero chemical inputs and significantly less water and energy, have already been launched by H&M and Pangaia.
Biomaterials Innovator AlgiKnit Closes $13 Million USD Series A to Meet Demand for Kelp-Derived Yarns External
AlgiKnit, the New York-based materials innovator creating environmentally-friendly yarn from kelp, announced it has closed $13 million USD in Series A funding. The round, led by Collaborative Fund, will boost the company’s ability to meet growing global demand for nature-driven solutions to the environmental impact of the textile industry. The funding, along with the announcement of the opening of a new manufacturing facility, marks the start of a new phase of growth for AlgiKnit, solidifying the company’s position in the rapidly expanding biomaterials space and expediting the company’s time to scale. Collaborative Fund was joined by H&M CO:LAB, Starlight Ventures, and Third Nature Ventures in the funding round, and features ongoing support from previous investors Horizons Ventures and SOSV.
NEFFA | New Fashion Factory Brings Automated 3D Manufacturing to the World of Biofabricated Materials With MycoTEX
After pre-launching during Biofabricate in New York, and the Global Change Award in Stockholm, female-led Dutch startup NEFFA (which stands for New Fashion Factory), has revealed its groundbreaking automated manufacturing method, making it possible to produce apparel, footwear and fashion accessories fully in 3D from biofabricated materials such as mycelium or algae. MycoTEX is a mycelium-based material that is designed for use by the NEFFA manufacturing system. With the production of its first ever fully 3D home compostable garment (based on a body scan) already achieved this year, NEFFA plans to launch its first robotic manufacturing cell together with its German manufacturing partner later in 2022.
Evolved By Nature Raises $120 Million USD Series C to Scale Sustainable Activated Silk™ Technology for Global Impact
Evolved By Nature, a biotechnology company which creates a proprietary library of high performance, multi-purpose molecules from natural silk protein, announced it closed $120 million USD in Series C financing. Its groundbreaking Activated Silk™ technology utilizes molecules bioharvested from natural renewable resources to create innovative ingredients for use in the apparel, personal care and medical markets. Evolved by Nature developed the technology in order to protect human health, improve product performance, and promote a circular economy. The latest financing will accelerate commercialization of the Activated Silk™, which will shift global markets away from dependence on synthetics and fossil fuel derivatives. The round coincides with the launch of Evolved By Nature’s state-of-the-art, full-scale manufacturing facility in Massachusetts, which will ramp up production volumes to 900 metric tons of Activated Silk™ per year by 2024.