LONDON/AHMEDABAD – Agricultural technology company Materra has raised US$4.5 million in seed funding with support from the likes of H&M Group and Bestseller’s Invest FWD arm.
The burgeoning innovator uses regenerative farming systems to produce climate-resilient cotton that’s said to be of higher quality whilst using 80 per cent less water and producing 30 per cent fewer carbon emissions.
“This exciting milestone marks a shift in gear as we plan to significantly scale our operations in India, continue our R&D efforts and accelerate the development of increasingly scalable solutions,” said Edward Brial, Materra’s CEO and co-founder.
Having identified methods through which it can increase yields, improve resource efficiency and protect the environment via regenerative farming systems, Materra has caught the eye of fashion heavyweights Kering and PVH Corp to date.
This momentum is now set to accelerate as the London and Ahmedabad-based innovator has secured finances from H&M Group, Bestseller’s investment arm Invest FWD, Fashion for Good and Perivoli Innovations.
The firm says it will expand its team over the coming months to help manage growing industry demands for its cotton.
“It’s been a hectic but fruitful start to the season, between wrapping up a year of in-field trials, kicking off new partnerships and closing this round,” Brial noted, adding: “We’re delighted to be supported by investors of this calibre.
Notably, Bestseller contributed to a €30 million (US$35.6 million) funding round in support of Infinited Fiber Company last year, before announcing that it was to invest in three other innovators: Circular Systems, Nature Coatings and Evrnu.
Commenting on its backing of Materra, Jeppe Bredahl, of Invest FWD, said the technology company has a “clear ambition of generating change in the fashion industry” through climate-resilient cotton production.
“We hope to build a long-lasting partnership as an investor and as a business partner to accelerate Materra’s positive development towards a more sustainable and socially responsible cotton production.”
Erik Karlsson, investment manager at H&M’s CO:LAB, added: “Materra is revolutionising the way cotton is grown through using both efficient and regenerative farming systems that radically improve the sustainability performance of the fibre.
“We look forward to deepening our partnership and supporting them in the next phase of their exciting development.”