TômTex has closed what it describes as a “successful” seed round of $2.25m and pre-seed round of $1.9m taking its total to $4.15m.

The fundraising effort has garnered interest from key investors, including Happiness Capital, SOSV, Parley for the Oceans, and MIH Capital.

The funds will be used to drive team expansion, hire key personnel and enhance manufacturing capabilities at TômTex’s Brooklyn facility in New York, US.

The strategic focus is on scaling production, securing new contracts, and reinforcing the company’s market position in the circular bio-material sector.

TômTex’s scalable approach involves using existing food waste matter, distinguishing it from the time-consuming and costly process of lab-growing new material to form durable material that resembles real leather.

The use of raw chitosan, a biopolymer found in seafood shells and mushrooms, mixed with other green substances through a 100% green chemical process, forms the basis of TômTex’s textile.

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Founder Uyen Tran who is a trained designer, worked with fashion brands and designers Dauphinette, Di Petsa, Maitrepierre and Peter Do to pioneer TômTex’s proprietary 100% biodegradable materials, including Series WS (made from shell seafood waste) and new Series M (made from mushrooms).

The startup recently achieved a milestone in continuous roll-to-roll material production, producing one hundred linear feet in the initial run, with plans for a 10x follow-up in the coming weeks to initiate full-scale production for commercial orders.

While TômTex serves various industries, including home furnishing and luxury automobiles, its innovative materials have been featured in high-profile fashion collaborations with designers such as Alexander Wang, Ralph Lauren, Peter Do, Dauphinette, Di Petsa, and Maitrepierre.

The startup said these collaborations showcase the versatility of TômTex’s material, which can be custom-moulded, stamped, 3D-printed, or embossed in different animal leather-style patterns.

General partner at Happiness Capital Eric Ng called TômTex’s biomaterial technology a potential gamechanger in the market for its sustainability impact: “Investing in TômTex means investing in a scalable platform that has the potential to revolutionise industries while making a positive impact on our environment.”

Tien Nguyen, a general partner at Earth Venture Capital, emphasised the urgent need to address the environmental impact of synthetic leather items and said: “As you read this, you likely have at least four synthetic leather items, which are, in fact, plastic. These items will persist in our environment for centuries.”

He added: “As a major player in the global shrimp industry, Vietnam witnesses a massive waste of shrimp shells, aligning perfectly with TômTex’s philosophy: ‘Waste is the new luxury.’ Now is the time for TômTex to scale. We are committed to this critical stage of the company, driven by a strong belief in the future of sustainable fashion.”

In October Trumpler, a leather chemical provider for the tanning industry, partnered with speciality chemicals company, Archroma to introduce “DyTan”, a new eco-friendly, cost-effective leather production process.