Smartex sews up $24.7M to put smarter eyes on textile manufacturing • TechCrunch
A lot of things might come to mind when you hear “fashion,” but interest in the planet in general isn’t on that list. Smartex It just raised a few screws worth of cash, and seeded a round of funding to bring smart technology into the textile industry. The hope is to be able to detect fabric defects in real time. The company is pushing hard on the green corner of its products.
Smartex has developed machine vision-driven software that makes fabric production more efficient by identifying defects, which can primarily be used to stop manufacturing if something goes wrong, preventing waste. In particular, the company argues that imperfect fabric can travel further down the supply chain, with product problems only discovered later in the manufacturing process.
“I was born and raised by textile mill workers, worked in factories as a teenager, and have a master’s in physics and textile industry that has haunted me ever since,” said Gilberto Loreiro, co-founder and CEO of Smartex. , in an interview with TechCrunch. “We co-founded Smartex because we are obsessed with solving problems – and the textile industry has big problems. It’s probably the industry with the worst scale/automation ratio. Textile mills don’t have the tools to produce in a clean, transparent and efficient way…which results in massive amounts of waste and other problems. “.
The company declined to share its $24.7 million round valuation, but told TechCrunch it was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tony Fadell’s Build Collective. Additional funds were raised from H&M Group, DCVC, SOSV’s HAX, Spider Capital, Momenta Ventures, Bombyx Capital Partners, and Fashion for Good. The company previously raised an initial $2.9 million round in 2019 jointly led by DCVC and Spider Capital.
“It’s great to work with these mentors who have invaluable experience. Lightspeed Ventures is a truly global company and supports us in many of the geographies we work in, Paul [Murphy from Lightspeed VP] “Tony Fadel and his team are also an operator with tremendous visions in scaling the business,” said Laureiro, “Tony Fadel and his team are world-class mentors and operators with a unique product and marketing approach. Tony’s latest book “BUILD” is one of our scriptures.
Series A funds will enable Smartex to expand its business into new geographies and continue to grow the team.
“I am very excited about textile production in Asia and all the huge factories in Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, etc. No one will ever be able to solve textile problems without having a deep understanding and presence in these markets. So getting into all the cultural aspects and setting up business here is great Really,” Loreiro said. Our ultimate vision and long-term goal is to expand into other industries to enable factories around the world to produce with the least amount of waste. We won’t stop until we make a big difference.”
It takes fairly strong stomach to take on an established industry where many manufacturing facilities do not have the infrastructure to run AI-powered QA, but it is a changing industry.
“This industry is so tough! This is one of the reasons why so few tech companies work here. We feel lucky to be really making a huge impact – but when you compare it to the overall size of the industry, it feels like nothing,” Laureiro explains. “If there was ever a time to solve massive problems – it is now!”