Alt Tex, a Toronto-based biomaterials startup, has closed a $1.5 million pre-seed round to scale the production of its waste-to-wardrobe biotechnology.
The round was co-lead by Amplify Capital and Garage Capital, with involvement from Globalive Capital, Panache Ventures, global sustainable fashion impact fund Presstar and others, including Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. The pre-seed round brings Alt Tex’s total funding to $1.7 million, following $200,000 previously raised through non-dilutive sources.
Short for “alternative textiles,” Alt Tex is creating circular, biodegradable and carbon-neutral textiles engineered from one of the world’s largest landfill contributors–food waste. The company’s novel bio-polymer technology re-engineers sugars extracted from the food waste into high performance, polyester-like fibers and fabrics for sustainable fashion brands.
The closed-loop alternative is aimed at replacing polyester, which makes up an estimated 60 percent of textile manufacturing. Alt Tex was founded in 2019 by Myra Arshad, a third-generation textile entrepreneur alongside her best friend, Avneet Ghotra, who has a background in environmental science and biochemistry.
“This industry has always been close to me given my family’s background in this space, but the level of customer, investor and general stakeholder interest we have received really validates that the environmental and ethical problems are also becoming personal to the general population,” Arshad said.
Alt Tex cited Ellen MacArthur foundation data that the fashion industry could use more than 26 percent of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. The startup claims that a single T-shirt created with its material can divert up to nine kilograms of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.
“The industry is growing rapidly and with over 60 percent of consumers indicating a willingness to pay more for the clothes we wear, our highly scalable technology has the ability to completely replace one of the most polluting textiles we use daily,” Arshad said.
With the polyester manufacturing sector valued at $104 billion, Alt Tex expects to expand globally in the coming years to tackle the large market gap.
The Next 36 and Creative Destruction Lab-backed startup has been well supported through the Canadian tech ecosystem, which also includes the Center for Social Innovation, Schulich Startups and University of Toronto Entrepreneurship. Alt Tex has several pilot agreements locked in for their 2022 launch.
With this funding, the partners are now looking to quickly grow their team with several new research positions and expand their R&D operations to begin serving fashion brands by next year.