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June 29, 2022

H&M Group joins funding for seaweed yarn maker Algiknit

Algiknit, which makes yarn from kelp seaweed, closes its US$13m Series A funding with help from H&M CO:Lab, the investment arm of H&M Group and announces a new US-based manufacturing facility.

By Fi Forrest

Algiknit, the materials innovator creating eco-conscious yarns from kelp seaweed, announced today (29 June) the closure of its US$13m Series A funding and the opening of its new manufacturing facility in North Carolina.

The funding, led by Collaborative Fund, marks the start of a new phase of growth and collaboration for US-based Algiknit, further aligning the implementation and scale of its technology with venture backing.

The round is joined by H&M CO:Lab, the investment arm of H&M Group, Starlight Ventures, Third Nature Ventures, and features ongoing support from previous investors Horizons Ventures and SOSV. 

Previously a recipient of Fashion for Good Plug and Play Accelerator, Algiknit produces textile fibres extruded from kelp, a variety of seaweed. The extrusion process turns the biopolymer mixture into kelp-based thread that can be knitted, or 3D printed to minimise waste. The final knitwear is biodegradable and can be dyed with natural pigments in a closed loop cycle. 

Algiknit is leveraging this readily available raw material to create yarns and fibres for use in a diverse set of industries including fashion, interiors and furnishings, and automotive. 

The company’s new manufacturing facility in the Research Triangle area in North Carolina, which opened this month, is said to highlight the company’s commitment to sustainability beyond its product. The company sought to minimise its construction footprint by upfitting its 15,000 square foot expansion with upcycled materials and second-hand furniture. 

“With the opening of our new facility in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, we are focused on expanding our production capabilities, partnerships, and team to address global demand more quickly,” said Algiknit co-founder and CEO, Tessa Callaghan. “This is a huge next step in bringing this technology to scale, and creating positive, tangible change for the planet. We are so excited to partner with new and existing investors who share our vision for transforming the fashion ecosystem.” 

The closing of this round brings Algiknit’s total fundraising amount to US$17.9m, which is said to solidify the company’s position in the expanding biomaterials space and expedit the company’s time to scale. Building on momentum from the company’s expansion, Algiknit says it is poised to disrupt the textile industry by offering a yarn built to combat environmentally harmful cycles of yarn and fibre production. 

“The textile industry is responsible for as much as 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions – in addition to being massively polluting and water-intensive. We’re thrilled to be leading Algiknit’s Series A round, and to be investing in a technology that is pushing the world towards a more sustainable future,” said Sophie Bakalar, Partner at Collaborative Fund. 

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