A Swedish fashiontech startup, Material Exchange, which acts as a comprehensive digital material management solution, today announced the closing of a €5 million funding round to accelerate its growth plans. Material Exchange is one of the few lucky startups that has benefited from the ‘new normal’ caused by the pandemic.
“Our business exploded overnight as the fashion industry realized that with global travel halted, textile fairs cancelled and employees forced to work remotely – fashion brands, suppliers and manufacturers had a pressing need for a solution to source materials and manage relationships with suppliers in a completely digital environment,” said Darren Glenister, CEO of Material Exchange.
The company was started in 2017 by a team of highly experienced entrepreneurs who have one exit under their belts: Plugin76, a fashion software company that was sold to PTC Inc, a billion-dollar computer software corporation. Together they are embarking on their next startup journey to redefine the fashion industry and reimagine the way the industry interacts with materials.
While the fashion industry is said to show us the future when it comes to the latest trends on the catwalk, when it comes to how the industry works from the inside, it is still surprisingly old fashioned and analogue.
Material Exchange is driving the sustainable digital transformation of the industry by creating transparency and improving communication between brands, material suppliers and manufacturers. By streamlining supply chain processes, the company helps reduce the need for physical samples, material wastage, and therefore supports a more sustainable future.
Material Exchange launched its platform a year ago and today already works with almost 400 suppliers and 50 brands globally including names like Caleres (Dr Scholl, Vince), Bestseller Group (Selected Homme, Jack Jones), Deckers Brands (Uggs, Teva), Global Brands Group (Calvin Klein Shoes), Keen, Camuto Group and Ariat.
The financing round was led by Norrsken VC and Partech. Other new investors joining the round included Day One and Lyra Ventures. Inventure, which led the company’s first financing round only 12 months ago in November 2019, also participated in the new financing round.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of the industry by at least 5 years, we can’t afford to lose momentum, so have accelerated our fundraising plans in order to seize the opportunity and scale rapidly,” explained Darren Glenister, CEO of Material Exchange.
“Fashion industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. We need a radical change across the value chain to make fashion more sustainable. We are excited to back Material Exchange because they are redefining the fashion industry by driving transparency and eliminating waste”, said Agate Freimane, General Partner at Norrsken VC.
“B2B supply chains are being re-invented as a result of this crisis and Material Exchange is positioned to be the Platform of choice where Fashion Brands find and meet their Suppliers, where all Master Data reside and where commercial transactions happen, in a fully digital environment integrated to critical business systems on both sides. We are thrilled to partner with Material Exchange and help them unlock the incredible potential for their clients, not only economically but also for the common good!” commented Romain Lavault, General Partner at Partech.