Fashion giants join $21.6m funding round for circular fashion tech company Ambercycle

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Christian van der Kooy

Fashion behemoths H&M, Bestseller and Zalando are among the companies to join a $21.6 million Series A funding round for Ambercycle, the sustainability-focused materials science company. 

The California-based company will use the money to continue to develop infrastructure and materials for circularity within the fashion industry. Other investors include Singapore investment group Temasek, plastics tech business Kirkbi, and Invest FWD. 

Ambercycle has created a process it has trademarked Ambercycling that separates and purifies post-consumer textile waste at the molecular level to produce regenerated materials that brands and designers can use to create new garments. 

The invention is aimed at helping lessen the 120 billion garments discarded worldwide every year that usually end up in landfills, and to reduce the requirement for virgin materials in creating new clothes. 

Ambercycle was founded in 2015 by Shay Sethi and Moby Ahmed. Its first material is a premium fabric replacement for polyester it calls Cycora, which is created from end-of-life textile waste. 

Since its launch, the company has built a pilot plant in downtown Los Angeles to prove the technology. Now, with fresh funding, it plans to scale up the production of Cycora, which has already been used in successful commercial collaborations with Los Angeles streetwear brand Justin Mensinger, select luxury brands, and most recently by H&M in its 2021 Circular Design Story Collection. Ambercycle has also worked with Dutch textile innovator Eigendraads to create a concept sports jersey consisting of 10 per cent of Cycora (pictured above). 

“The transition to circularity in fashion is inevitable,” said Shay Sethi, who is CEO at Ambercycle. “We are building an ecosystem in which materials can exist in harmony with humans and the environment.

“Our breakthrough molecular regeneration process enables a clear vision for circularity, in which fashion can flow in and out of our lives. Not only will this improve the sustainability performance of the items in our closets, but it builds a new way for us to interact with our materials.” 

H&M Co:Lab is the Swedish fast-fashion company’s investment arm, focused on funding startups that address sustainability challenges in the fashion industry. Erik Karlsson, acting head of H&M Co:Lab, says the company “truly believes in the team behind Ambercycle.”

“With this new funding round, we look forward to partnering with them as they scale commercially.” 

H&M is on a path towards making its business fully circular by 2030, an enormous challenge in itself. 

Damir Hamzić, head of circular plastic investments at Kirkbi, described circular plastics as a new thematic investment area for the company. 

“We want to support the movement towards a world where plastics never become waste. Globally, a significant part of plastic waste generated comes from textiles. In Ambercycle, we see a promising company within textile-to-textile recycling led by a highly dedicated management team and through this investment, we want to support the further development of the company’s ambitious plans.”

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill is a content writer with more than 30 years of experience in five countries. His style has built upon award-winning success in news and features in the print media to leadership in digital communication, spanning news websites, social media, magazines, brochures, and contributing to books. Recognising the devastating impact of consumer behaviour on the planet and wanting to help make a difference Robert launched Viable.Earth as a platform to celebrate positive contributions by brands, companies and individuals towards reducing environmental impact and improve sustainability – especially in the fields of fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, and transportation.


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