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Synthetic spider silk pioneers receive $50m funding boost.

Posted on May 16, 2016 9:30:00 PM

spider-web-1030877_960_720.jpg“The $1.5 trillion textiles industry hasn’t achieved a major step forward since the 1930s, with the development of nylon…”

Bolt Threads a California-based biotechnology company aiming to create the next generation of high performance fabrics, inspired by spider's silk, has announced it has raised $50 million in Series C financing. This third round of funding, usually an excellent indicator that the company has proved a success so far, with solid managementg and has potential to develop a large market. Since launching out of stealth last year, Bolt Threads has attracted the interest of both new investors and partners, including Patagonia. Inspired by the super material that is spider silk, but which so far has not been successfully replicated to marketable quantities and working at the molecular level, Bolt Threads aims to transform the textiles market, turning renewable raw materials into products with outstanding properties that meet specific consumer needs. The company is now producing its Engineered Silk™ protein at large scale, and is moving into yarn manufacturing this summer.

Existing investor Formation 8 led the round, along with new investors including Nan Fung, a business conglomerate based in Hong Kong, and Innovation Endeavors. Other existing investors, including Alafi Capital, East West Capital, Foundation Capital and Founders Fund also participated.

 “The $1.5 trillion textiles industry hasn’t achieved a major step forward since the 1930s, with the development of nylon,” said Jim Kim, founder and managing partner of Formation 8.  “Bolt Threads’ engineered and elegant silks represent an opportunity to fundamentally impact and enable properties in clothing we never dreamed would be possible. Dan and the team at Bolt Threads are visionaries who have applied new age proprietary techniques to a non-traditional technology opportunity in a big, old-world sector. We look forward to the fashion and function trends that Bolt Threads will lead in textiles.”



Bolt Threads ( @boltthreads )  was co-founded in 2009 by CEO Dan Widmaier, Chief Scientific Officer David Breslauer, and Vice President of Operations Ethan Mirsky. The three were fascinated with natural silk, its properties and the process of its production in nature. This curiosity led them to develop technology to produce  Engineered Silk™ made wholly of natural proteins, creating a sustainable and durable new material. Together with partners like Patagonia, Bolt Threads is pioneering more sustainable and non-toxic processes for textile manufacturing.

“Manmade fabrics like nylon and polyester have transformed the fashion industry, for better and for worse,” said Widmaier. “The use of hydrocarbon polymers in these textiles has created a lingering toxic problem for the environment. At Bolt Threads, we’re re-thinking textile manufacturing, producing high performance materials that are also not nearly as harmful to the environment as existing options. It’s an incredibly important and challenging problem to solve and we’re excited to collaborate with Patagonia and other partners to make cleaner textile production a reality.”

Bert van Son, CEO, Mud Jeans will be an expert speaker at Bio-Based Products World in Amsterdam on 24-25th May 2016. Bert will be joining leaders from Ikea, Kingfisher, BASF, Ynsect, Neste, Korres Natural Products, Ecover and many more. Click here all the details of this landmark new event where brands and retailers learn sustainable strategies and uncover bio-based alternatives.

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Topics: BBWNBrands, Bio-Based, Apparel

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About the Author

Luke Upton
Luke Upton
Luke is the editor and co-founder of Bio-Based World has edited this site since its launch and previously worked for b2b media companies across industries including energy, advertising and sport. His more