Simplifyber, Inc, the cleantech producer of footwear and clothing “created in a lab, not in a factory”, announces it has closed a $3.5 million seed funding round. The New York brand makes cotton-like biodegradable footwear and clothing by injecting liquid into molds, on a mission to transform the world’s apparel and footwear industries and replace wovens and knits with sustainable alternatives.
“We believe Simplifyber could be the apparel of the future: They are not only beautifully designed but have a low carbon footprint and are price-accessible”
Simplifyber’s cellulose formula is derived from a combination of wood pulp and other plant-based materials, leading to a fully biodegradable product that can be easily returned to nature. The company’s production technique evades the use of traditional spinning, weaving, cutting, and sewing, cutting out 60% of the steps and reducing the enormous amount of materials that go to waste as a result of the fashion supply chain.
Co-founded by CEO Maria Intscher-Owrang, whose 20+ year career as a fashion designer and director includes periods at leading fashion houses, including Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, and Alexander McQueen; Simplifyber has also collaborated on a pilot with HP to create molded shoe uppers, from a custom formula derived from natural fibers.
“I saw how [3D printing] was disrupting nearly every other industry, but not in fashion. I set out to find the people that could make this a reality”
“I saw how additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing) was disrupting nearly every other industry, but not in fashion. I set out to find the people that could make this a reality,” says Intscher-Owrang. “We discovered a way to create clothing using soft plant fibers,” she explained. “We start with a liquid cellulose – made in a lab, not in a mill – which is then poured on specially-designed molds and dried, eliminating fabric waste altogether and allowing on-demand, stock-free service.”
The round was led by At One Ventures, with participation from Techstars, Heritage Group Ventures, The Helm, W Fund, Jetstream Ventures, Plug & Play Ventures, REFASHIOND Ventures, CapitalX Ventures, Keeler Investments Group and others.
“With its single-step process for clothing making, Simplifyber has the potential to beat the unit economics of polyester, becoming an economically and environmentally viable solution against plastic waste,” said Laurie Menoud, Partner, At One Ventures.
“We’re looking forward to partnering with the team to bring this solution to scale. We believe Simplifyber could be the apparel of the future: They are not only beautifully designed but have a low carbon footprint and are price-accessible, which is a significant differentiation from other sustainable clothing brands.”