PARIS — Amsterdam-based textile innovation company Byborre is stepping up its expansion plans, thanks to a 16.9 million-euro Series B funding round.
The round was led by the impact investment Invest-NL and tech-focused VP Capital funds, with participation from new and returning investors including Shift Invest, the Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund (AKEF), as well as a group of seasoned industry experts and entrepreneurs that includes Charlie MacGregor, founder of hybrid hospitality brand The Social Hub; Henk Jan Beltman, cofounder of Dutch ethically led confectionery brand Tony’s Chocolonely; and Patrick Munsters, an 30-year industry veteran with a track record as creative leader of Scotch & Soda, founder of the Marie-Stella-Maris toiletries brand and men’s staples line Salle Privée.
Dutch multinational financial services company Rabobank will also provide long-term debt and machine lease facilities.
Byborre had gained investments from Shift Invest and the AKEF as part of a 3.2 million-euros Series A funding round in 2020.
Founded in 2010 by Dutch textile designer Borre Akkersdijk and formally incorporated with business partner Arnoud Haverlag in 2015, Byborre is a textile innovation studio that aims to help the industry reduce its environmental impact and emissions by saving at every step.
“Throughout the years, we always wanted to make people aware to use better, and actually less, textile because we overproduce in every step — it’s ridiculous,” said Akkersdijk.
Byborre quickly grew from innovating on the materials, to producing knit textiles for others and eventually, showcasing it through an eponymous brand.
“A big part of [the brand] was to prove that you can control the whole supply chain even if you’re a small brand,” he said, noting that selling its wares at the likes of Dover Street Market Ginza and Ssense was meant only as a showcase. The line rolled out its final collection, titled Edition11, in late 2022, as Akkersdijk “doesn’t believe in [Byborre] making more clothing.”
What he does believe is all brands, from automotive and interiors to streetwear and high fashion, “will need to make less, use better textiles, be more transparent,” likening the Create platform to Gore-Tex’s model.
With the arrival of new European legislative standards and incentives like the Extended Producer Responsibility shifting responsibility to producers and brands, the moment felt ripe for acceleration.
True to what Akkersdijk deemed an open-source mindset, the textile studio company plans on using the Series B funds to roll out its platforms, the Byborre Create design tool and Byborre Textiles library, into key markets that include the U.S., Northern European countries and Italy. It also is keen to expand its network of industry partners to create “an even more global network so that it becomes a lot more accessible.”
“We have a strong partner base of all the yarn suppliers, machine suppliers and the factories in Europe and they have sister factories in North Carolina, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia,” he explained. “Now we’re also going to look at where are more factories with the same type of machines that can actually plug in on the [Byborre] system so that they actually don’t have to sample anymore.”
Another goal will be to “go more local at scale,” explained the textile expert, pointing out the need for different yarn options for different regions, to further cut down on transport.
Currently, Byborre supports a range that includes recycled nylon, recycled polester and 50 percent recycled cotton, with a 50 percent share of single-material compositions to increase recyclability. The company is working on introducing a cellulose-based yarn and will introduce new materials “as soon as [they] reach small-scale” production potential.
Also key will be the software development, to make Byborre’s solutions even more approachable, richer in functionalities and easy to use; and continued partnerships with organizations ranging from The Woolmark Company and Amsterdam’s University of Applied Science; to circular knitting machine manufacturers Mayer & Cie and luxury footwear brand Santoni.
Byborre recently teamed up with buzzy London-based streetwear label Palace, with whom the Amsterdam-based textile company has released a limited-edition jacket inspired by a neon-lights-meets-’90s vibe.
The textile innovator’s Series B funding round marks the first investment in the textiles industry for Invest-NL, which is private but financed through public funds, said the fund’s chief executive officer Rinke Zonneveld.
Lauding Byborre’s work toward “a transparent ecosystem” and “tremendous potential to rethink both design and production of textiles,” the executive believes the textile innovation company “can play an important role in speeding up the transition towards a carbon-neutral and circular economy.”