California start-up Rubi, which is pioneering carbon-negative cellulosic textiles, has secured an additional 8.7 million US dollars in funding and announced it has signed up fashion brands Ganni, Reformation, H&M, Patagonia and rental platform Nuuly to its initial strategic pilot project.
The latest round of funding was led by Talis Capital, alongside Patagonia’s Tin Shed Ventures, H&M Group, Collaborative Fund, and Necessary Ventures. This series seed round takes Rubi’s total funding to 13.5 million US dollars and will help the innovative company “rapidly scale” its production process and deliver limited collections of planet-positive apparel to its customers.
The investment means that Rubi, founded by twin sisters Neeka and Leila Mashouf, is one step closer to transforming the fashion industry with its innovative carbon-negative textiles. Rubi is looking to achieve this by using biochemical processes powered by enzymes at an industrial scale to “eat” carbon emissions and make carbon-negative, resource-neutral textiles.
Rubi’s patent-pending, cell-free biocatalysis process captures and converts CO2 from the waste streams of manufacturing facilities into cellulose. The converted cellulose is then used to create lyocell yarn which can be used for clothing and materials, while 100 percent of CO2 inputted to the end product is done with zero waste.
Neeka Mashouf, chief executive and co-founder of Rubi Labs, said in a statement: “We know we’re part of something bigger. The world desperately needs affordable and scalable solutions rooted in cutting-edge science and technology to reinvent the ways industries operate.
“Rubi has done that by creating a new way of manufacturing that mimics nature called symbiotic manufacturing. While we’re applying our solution to the fashion industry first, it’s our goal to make every supply chain exist in harmony with the planet.”
Rubi Laboratories secures additional 8.7 million US dollars in funding
Fashion brands, like H&M, Ganni and Reformation will support Rubi’s pilot phase by testing the material in its supply chains and creating prototype products, as well as limit-edition capsule collections, before scaling the operation.
Kathleen Talbot, chief sustainability officer and vice president of operations at Reformation, said: “Rubi is turning fashion’s supply chain on its head, transforming a wasteful and resource-intensive process into a net positive for the planet. Up to two-thirds of fashion’s environmental impact happens at the raw materials stage, before clothing is even produced, which means investing in next-generation materials is absolutely critical.
“Innovations like Rubi are not only key to helping Reformation achieve climate positivity, but also play an important role in building a future for fashion that is actually hopeful and inspiring.”
Nicolaj Reffstrup, founder of Ganni, added: “Rubi Laboratories is an exciting fabric development that has the potential to be climate positive as it looks to sequester carbon from the atmosphere in various manufacturing processes.
“We ultimately need to get to a place where we can create products that leave a truly positive impact. Fabric innovations will play a crucial role in getting fashion to that point, but for this to happen brands need to place bets and take risks. This is why we’re committed to supporting and investing in breakthrough fabric innovations like Rubi Laboratories through our innovation initiative ‘Fabrics of the Future'.”