Dealflow | August 31, 2023

Refiberd raises $3.4 million for AI-driven textile waste sorting for recyclers

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, August 31 — Cupertino, Calif.-based Refiberd is looking to bring “true textile circularity” to the fashion industry. Refiberd’s AI-based imaging, which detects the composition of fiber and contaminants in textile waste, enables the sorting of fabrics like cotton and polyester. The company says it can help divert up to 70% of the textile waste stream to high-value recyclers.

“If end-of-life collection and sorting is to be done at scale, technology needs to be part of the solution,” said Christiane Dolva of H&M Foundation, which backed the $3.4 million seed round with a $200,000 grant. “This will not only solve a waste problem, but reduce the [fashion] industry’s dependence on virgin materials, and by default also the resources used and emissions released.”

Waste to value

Less than 1% of the hundreds of billions of textile waste is recycled into new clothing each year. Two women engineers launched Refiberd in 2020 to meet the need for recycling infrastructure in the fashion industry, “especially around the sorting and processing of textile waste,” said Refiberd’s Sarika Bajaj.

Other investors in the round include True Wealth Ventures, Better Ventures, Schmidt Family Foundation, Fashion for Good, Carnegie Mellon University and the National Science Foundation.