Bolt Threads, a U.S.-based biotechnology company working to transform the textiles market, has raised $50 million in Series C financing after attracting the interest of new investors and partners, including Patagonia.
The start-up, which was founded in 2009 and launched out of stealth last year, uses proprietary techniques to produce Engineered Silk, a manmade material that mimics the properties of spider silk and other insect fibers. It’s created wholly of natural materials and can be fine-tuned to deliver specific benefits.
Existing investor Formation 8 led the round, along with new investors, including Nan Fung, a business conglomerate based in Hong Kong, and Innovation Endeavors. Other existing investors, including Alafi Capital, East West Capital, Foundation Capital and Founders Fund also participated.
Bolt is already producing its Engineered Silk protein at large scale, with outsourced manufacturing partners, but plans to move into yarn manufacturing this summer.
“The $1.5 trillion textiles industry hasn’t achieved a major step forward since the 1930s, with the development of nylon,” Jim Kim, founder and managing partner of Formation 8, said in a press release Wednesday. “Bolt Threads’ engineered and elegant silks represent an opportunity to fundamentally impact and enable properties in clothing we never dreamed would be possible.”
Bolt’s technology moves away from petroleum-based polymers, toxic processes and non-renewable materials and towards closed-loop production, sustainable fabrics and more renewable solutions. According to the start-up’s website, the Engineered Silk protein is produced in large quantities through fermentation, using yeast, sugar and water, which is then spun into fibers that can be knit or woven.
“Dan and the team at Bolt Threads are visionaries who have applied new-age proprietary techniques to a non-traditional technology opportunity in a big, old-world sector. We look forward to the fashion and function trends that Bolt Threads will lead in textiles,” Kim said.
“Manmade fabrics like nylon and polyester have transformed the fashion industry, for better and for worse,” Bolt Threads CEO Dan Widmaier said. “The use of hydrocarbon polymers in these textiles has created a lingering toxic problem for the environment. At Bolt Threads, we’re re-thinking textile manufacturing, producing high performance materials that are also not nearly as harmful to the environment as existing options. It’s an incredibly important and challenging problem to solve and we’re excited to collaborate with Patagonia and other partners to make cleaner textile production a reality.”
Uzbekisyan is well on its way to eradicating forced and child labor from its cotton supply chain, and with it the stigma that has plagued the sector and causes many U.S. and European brands from buying the raw material.Read more
The rapid rise of e-commerce is causing companies to rethink their logistics strategies and is sending ripples into the warehouse real estate market.Read more
UPS Capital, a subsidiary of UPS Inc., has expanded UPS Capital Cargo Finance service with new options on in-transit cargo for U.S. importers.Read more
The Ditto Smart Hanger could be a solution for retailers that are struggling to streamline inventory costs, stay sustainable and further engage consumers.Read more
Even though sustainable fashion is in its beginning stages, some retailers are taking the steps to accelerate the industry’s circular future.Read more
Amazon Go, Amazon's anticipated high-tech retail outpost, is now officially open, allowing shoppers to grab and go—without a stop at the register.Read more
Under the Bangladesh Accord, an unnamed clothing brand has been instructed to address safety issues in more than 150 factories.Read more