AlgiKnit, a biomaterials company specializing in kelp yarn, announces the opening of a new innovation hub in North Carolina’s famed Triangle Park.
Founded in 2017, AlgiKnit aims to cut the fashion industry’s carbon emissions in half with eco-conscious materials created mostly from kelp. The company spent four years developing new technology that can commercialize and scale the inventive fabrics, and the Triangle Park facility will provide additional research and development space, as well as accommodate in-house manufacturing and business teams.
In March, AlgiKnit raised $2.1 million to help scale the company’s bio-yarns, building on previous investments from SOSV and Horizon Ventures. Globally, the ethical fashion market is expected to be worth $8.25 billion by 2023.
According to the company, 342 million barrels of crude oil are used annually in the production of synthetic fibers. Incredibly, the World Economic Forum has named the fashion industry the world’s third-largest polluter, due to the heavy use of fossil fuels in the supply chain.
AlgiKnit believes kelp-based fibers can dramatically change fashion’s environmental impact by offering a non-toxic, carbon-neutral material that is both highly versatile and sustainable. Kelp is a large algae that grows abundantly in dense, underwater forests close to shore. AlgiKnit processes kelp, one the fastest-growing and most renewable organisms on Earth, into functional textiles that can be utilized for garments, accessories and footwear.
“We know consumers need more cost-competitive, environmentally-sound material options that perform as well as conventional materials,” said Aaron Nesser, co-founder and CTO of AlgiKnit. “The yarn we’re producing today has the look and feel of the natural fibers consumers are familiar with, plus all the makings of a no-compromise conscious material.”
Tapping into “a deep pool of talent”
AlgiKnit says the company chose to move to Triangle Park from Brooklyn, New York because of the area’s rich history of textile manufacturing, as well as the close proximity to renowned science and research facilities that will help the brand accelerate growth.
“North Carolina’s Research Triangle area is becoming a hub for big tech and life sciences, and we look forward to collaborating with other companies focused on scientific innovation and disruption,” said Aleksandra Gosiewski, co-founder and COO of AlgiKnit. “We’re also excited for the opportunity to tap into the deep and diverse pool of talent and knowledge in the area to strengthen our scientific and engineering divisions.”
AlgitKnit co-founder and CEO, Tessa Callaghan adds, “Our expansion in North Carolina marks an important next step for AlgiKnit’s growth, and will help foster a carbon-neutral, toxin-free future that delivers value for our partners and the planet, all the while creating a safe, diverse, and dynamic environment for our team.”