Thread Raises $3.5 Million Round for Clean Textile Innovation

What started out as a journal entry is now a full-fledged startup that just closed a $3.5 million funding cycle:“If Haiti could turn trash into money = good.”

Thread, a Pittsburgh-based startup dedicated to creating dignified jobs in the developing world, recycles plastic into socially responsible fabric.

With Thread’s Series A Round of $2.8 million led by Draper Triangle Ventures, the company will be able to expand production capabilities while growing data and content collection throughout Thread’s clean, transparent supply chain. The raise completes a $3.5 million funding cycle that will continue to fuel the Certified B Corporation’s growth.

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.”

Thread creates its trusted brand through its Ground to Good™ model, a 100% transparent look into its supply chain. This model tells the story of the community, economic and environmental impact each bolt of fabric creates, telling the end customers about the real lives they’re affecting.

“People base their buying decisions on which brands they can trust. Unfortunately, the apparel and accessories industry is still among the dirtiest in 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,” said Ian Rosenberger, CEO and Founder of Thread. “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.”

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.

“Textiles are changing at a rapid pace, beyond just the introduction of wearables and integrated technologies,” said Bill Besselman VP, 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.”

Founded in 2010, Thread has created 2,700 income opportunities in Haiti and Honduras. To learn more about Thread’s impact, read the 2014 Impact Report.

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Written by:
Laura works in digital communications at Innovation Works, located in Pittsburgh, PA. IW fuels the technology economy in Southwestern PA through direct investments and business expertise. Every year, we help hundreds of entrepreneurs, researchers and small manufacturers to create new markets and change the world with their ideas and innovations. When not hanging with some of the coolest startups around, Laura can be seen enjoying the great outdoors on Pittsburgh's beautiful rivers and in its awesome parks. Except for during winter. During winter Laura can be seen watching NetFlix.
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