Pittsburgh-based startup Thread announced today it has closed a Series A Round of $2.8M, led by Draper Triangle Ventures, to create upcycled fabric from plastic waste collected in developing countries. The financing, which completes a $3.5M funding cycle, will help expand production capabilities, while growing data and content collection throughout Thread’s unprecedentedly clean, transparent supply chain.
The funding marks an important milestone for impact investing. Thread is among the first in a growing number of Certified B Corporations to receive Venture Capital funding. “With little innovation in the textile industry over the last 100 years, apparel companies are having a tough time meeting market demand for transparent, socially conscious materials,” said Jay Katarincic, Managing Director at Draper Triangle. “We believe Thread’s unique production process creates an incredibly powerful story that can strengthen the trust and authenticity of a brand to help meet market demand.”
Investors in the round include Draper Triangle, Riverfront Ventures, DNS Capital (representing the business interests of Gigi Pritzker Pucker and Michael Pucker), and Bill Besselman of Under Armour.
Used in apparel, accessories and footwear, Thread offers 100 percent transparency into its supply chain by tracking social and environmental impact metrics at every level of the production process. The company’s network of partnerships with several NGOs and local vendors make Thread Ground to Good™ fabric the most responsible on the planet. “Textiles are changing at a rapid pace, beyond just the introduction of wearables and integrated technologies,” said Bill Besselman, VP of Strategy and Consumer Insights at Under Armour and a Thread investor. “With a revolutionary approach to manufacturing and supply chain, Thread is poised to disrupt the market in a completely new way. For the first time, we can take a deep look at the data and stories of products from the ground up.“
Thread was launched after founder and CEO Ian Rosenberger visited Haiti following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. Reflecting on a journal entry that simply said, “If Haiti could turn trash in $ = good,” Thread has since been dedicated to cleaning neighborhoods and ending poverty through dignified jobs and solvent business.
Based in Pittsburgh with operations in Haiti and Honduras, Thread tracks its impact on communities, jobs creation and the environment, from the collection of bottles to the production of each bolt of fabric. This Ground to Good™ story is shared with partner brands that purchase Thread fabric — such as canvas bag brand, Moop — a narrative that is then shared with end customers.
“People base their buying decisions on which brands they can trust. Unfortunately, the apparel and accessories industry is still among the dirtiest the world. Customers want to know how their products are made and who makes them. We know the people who make Thread fabric possible and how their lives are changing because of the process. We can trace that process with a lot of precision,” Rosenberger said. “This new group of investors and their networks are heavyweights. They add a ton of industry experience and credibility. With their help we can expand the capabilities of our fabric, increase our impact on the ground, and continue to deliver the authentic stories that matter most to brands and customers.”