Virginia-based fashion tech startup Circ raises $30m funding to expand recycle clothing, eliminate waste
The circular fashion company Circ announced over $30 million in Series B funding backed by some of the largest international apparel companies and venture capital firms.
The investment will help to drive new progress for Circ as they fulfill their mission of protecting the planet from the cost of clothing. The round was led by the Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) with additional investment from new partners, including one of the world's largest fashion retailers Inditex, global diversified manufacturer and leader in American textiles Milliken & Company, and international investment groups Lansdowne Partners and Temasek. Previous investors joining Circ's latest round of funding include 8090 Partners, Alante Capital, Card Sound Capital, Circulate Capital, Envisioning Partners, and Marubeni.
Circ developed the revolutionary technology system that returns clothes to the raw materials from which they were made, preserving the earth's natural resources in nature. Most people are unaware of the ingredients that make our clothing, often forgetting that those materials come directly from the earth in the form of natural fibers like cotton and synthetic fibers like polyester, which is made entirely from petroleum-dependent plastic. The company's technology is uniquely capable of separating and recovering mixed polymer streams, specifically any blend of polyester and cotton, which account for most fabrics manufactured, and hence, most of the clothing that hangs in our collective closets. Circ's technology is projected to substantially reduce carbon emissions created by the fashion industry.
Peter Majeranowski, CEO, Circ: "Combining best-in-class financial investors, led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures with investment from fashion market leader Inditex, is a springboard to rapid, large-scale manufacturing success. With this investment round, we've secured suppliers, purchasers, and major financial stakeholders to establish a much cleaner fashion future. We already have all the clothing we need to make all the clothing we'll ever need. Now, alongside our partners, we can make recycled garments accessible to every shopper."
Circ's innovation has caught the attention of major brands and organizations, including early investors Patagonia, Marubeni, and Fashion For Good. This latest round of funding will help the company complete its engineering work for larger-scale facilities while continuing commercial launches with key partners. Funds will also be used to add core team members in engineering, R&D, management, and business development.
Carmichael Roberts, Member, BEV: "The textiles industry is estimated to account for over 1 Gt of CO2-equivalent emissions per year as of 2016, the largest portion of which comes from raw materials. BEV was founded to drive innovative solutions, like the technology Circ has created, that will reduce and eliminate greenhouse emissions as quickly as possible. Recycling can reduce emissions associated with deriving textile raw materials, however, most textiles are blends, which are difficult to separate and recycle. We see Circ's ability to recycle blended textiles as a significant breakthrough that can help us to achieve our global carbon goals by reducing the carbon intensity of textile raw materials."
Óscar García Maceiras, CEO, Inditex: "At Inditex, we are very excited to announce Circ as our first venture investment in a clean technology company. In partnership with Circ, we are committed to promoting the transformation of the entire fashion industry. We look forward to contributing our knowledge and corporate capabilities to Circ's rapid success and achievement of industrial scale."
This announcement comes on the heels of a remarkable period of growth for the company, which announced a partnership with the international technology group Andritz in the summer of 2021. The partnership was focused on the rapid scaling of Circ's patented recycling process with the help of Andritz's global reach and depth of expertise in equipment manufacturing and engineering.