Smartex – a Portugal-based deep-tech start-up – has raised US $ 24.7 million in Series A that was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Build Collective to ensure the sustainability and profitability of textile factories worldwide.
Other notable investors in this funding round include H&M Group, DCVC, SOSV’s HAX, Spider Capital, Momenta Ventures, Bombyx Capital Partners and Fashion for Good with which Smartex initiated multiple projects with its partners such as the Kering Group (Gucci, Balenciaga, etc), PVH (Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, etc.), Pangaia and others.
The latest funding follows their US $ 2.90 million Seed round in 2019 co-led by DCVC and Spider Capital.
These Series A funds will allow Smartex to expand the business strategically to new geographies, continue to grow the team as well as develop product lines to help manufacturers and fashion brands improve control of their production while increasing textile quality and traceability.
As the global sustainability movement continues to gain traction, consumers and regulators are increasingly pushing the fashion and textile industry to adopt cleaner, more responsible production. The European Commission has recognised Smartex as fundamental for Industry 4.0 projects in textile factories.
The funding will also support in R&D for Smartex’s recently launched hardware-enabled, machine-vision driven software to detect textile defects in real-time.
According to the company, this automated identification process reduces textile waste, CO2 emissions, energy, water, production time and capital expenditure by automatically shutting down production in order to prevent waste of materials.
When a fabric with defects remains undetected and travels down the supply chain, it often leads to entire textile rolls being discarded or burned, causing enormous environmental and financial impact on the textile industry which is already the third most polluting industry in the world.
It is estimated that 150 billion garments are produced annually in this US $ 3 trillion industry which accounts for 20 per cent of global water waste and 10 per cent of global carbon emissions.
As per Smartex, the industry is currently dependent on human vision and manual inspection to detect textile defects and the company empowers textile manufacturers to take control of their production line through real-time textile defect detection, data-driven analysis and alerts.
“Our customers are just as engaged as we are with the products we are building,” commented Antonio Rocha, Co-founder and CTO of Smartex, adding, “In order to create solutions to best serve them, we are always listening and open to their feedback. Together we are working on a new era of high quality, waste-free manufacturing which will lead to improved transparency and traceability across the textile supply chain from yarn to retail.”
Mario Jorge Silva, Founder of Tintex Textiles & HATA who is a user of Smartex technology, said, “Smartex – with its artificial intelligence and tracking processes – is an economically viable solution because it not only saves time but anticipates and helps in the elimination of problems that may arise later on.”
Gilberto Loureiro, Co-founder and CEO of Smartex, mentioned, “We are privileged to be in a very unique position to add intrinsic value to a giant industry that is fundamental and touches so many lives, fueling our mission to sustainability and profitability of textile factories worldwide. With our technology and talent, we will be able to pioneer a new chapter in the fashion industry and ultimately to reduce waste and costs. All efforts are necessary to generate a positive impact as we strive to solve this global challenge and contribute to a more sustainable world.”