Werewool said it will use the funding to develop its first product, protein fibres that can be spun into yarns, expand manufacturing capabilities, and grow the team.

The seed funding was led by Material Impact and Sofinnova Partners and awarded to Werewool in support to further the company’s mission to eliminate the need for petroleum-based raw materials, synthetic dyes, and toxic finishing processes that contribute to climate change.

The company explained that instead of relying on these conventional methods and materials, Werewool uses protein structure to embed performance attributes directly into fibres. The technology is co-patented between the Fashion Institute of Technology and Columbia University.

“Our mission as a company is to make the fashion industry compatible with nature,” said Chui-Lian Lee, co-founder and CEO of Werewool. “Our team looks at the textile industry holistically considering the end of life at the beginning of life – our goal is for our fibres to decompose into nutrients for a healthier ecosystem. We are excited to be growing and are looking to fill key leadership roles in the company with people who can contribute to our team’s vision for a truly circular textile economy.”

Material Impact sees the investment in Werewool as core to its thesis of leveraging the power of material science to usher the fashion industry into the next generation of bio-manufacturing.

“At Material Impact, we seek out deep tech innovation that has the capacity to solve enduring, large-scale, real-world problems,” said Corinna Chen, partner at Material Impact. “Werewool’s revolutionary fibre development platform offers the textile industry a breakthrough approach to sustainable and functional textiles.”

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The company highlighted it was recognised by the fashion industry for its innovation to prevent microfibre pollution and protect the planet. Werewool has won several awards including the H&M Foundation Global Change Award, the Conservation X Labs’ Microfiber Innovation Challenge, and most recently Elle X Polestar’s Design Toward Zero Award.

“We celebrate Werewool for their innovative work with developing protein-based fibres. Their solution helps break the textile industry’s dependence on, among other things, extractive raw materials, harmful dyes, and plastics. It then has the potential to de facto reduce the negative impact on a number of environmental areas if it can be scaled and used in the right way,” added Fredrika Klarén, Polestar’s head of sustainability and jury member for the Design Towards Zero Award.