Stockholm, Sweden – April 12, 2022: Today, Material Exchange is announcing it has raised €25 million in Series A funding. Material Exchange is a B2B SaaS-enabled marketplace for the apparel and footwear industry which is digitizing the material sourcing process and replacing the complex, fragmented relationships that exist between brands and suppliers—with the goal of driving sustainability and efficiency across the $2tn fashion supply chain.
This new investment will power the growth of Material Exchange’s product suite, which includes a marketplace for connecting brands with a curated network of suppliers; a Brand Material Management System for organizing materials and collaborating with stakeholders, and 3D scanning for creating accurate visuals.
Material Exchange is at the forefront of driving sustainable business practices for the fashion industry by bringing critical transparency and digital transformation to this very large market. The company plans to step up recruitment as it hires world-class talent across a range of specialities to help them meet this goal.
“With this round, we’re able to accelerate our mission of leading the global revolution to sustainable, transparent apparel and footwear material sourcing by aggregating fragmented data into one digital solution,” says Darren Glenister, Material Exchange’s CEO and Founder. “We believe the shift will ultimately have the greatest impact for brands and suppliers as well as end-consumers.”
In an industry traditionally marked by complex, inefficient processes and high amounts of waste and pollution, Material Exchange offers an alternative which reduces waste, facilitates efficiency, and offers transparency in buying decisions. The platform already connects thousands of the world’s largest brands with material suppliers across the globe.
The round – led by world-class investor Molten Ventures along with the continued support of previous seed investors including Partech, Inventure, Norrsken, Lyra, and Day One Capital – comes at an exciting time for the business following a period of exceptional growth.
When the global pandemic hit in 2020, Material Exchange was approached by the largest global denim trade show, Kingpins, to develop a digital denim marketplace in place of the physical show. The success of this partnership spurred the company to more aggressively focus on building and scaling the marketplace. It also led to Material Exchange’s acquisition of the Olah textile agency – the largest denim sourcing agency in the world who operate the Kingpins Show, in October 2021. With the recent launch of its mobile app, Material Exchange is helping to further bridge the gap between digital and physical both on and off the trade show floor.
The latest member of the Material Exchange team – Lucienne™ – is an AI tool that automatically creates an infinite number of unique prints and patterns. This tool helps replace the inefficient and wasteful sampling process, allowing brands to become more sustainable as they assess their supplier choices based on economic and environmental factors as well as launches Material Exchange into the future of designing both physical and digital materials for the real and virtual Metaverse.
“With Material Exchange, we see a significant and largely untapped opportunity in digitizing the highly complex and offline fashion supply chain,” says Nicola McClafferty, Partner at Molten Ventures. “The need for transparency and sustainability as well as ongoing supply chain disruptions are proving to be powerful forces for accelerating the structural trend of digitization of sourcing workflows for both brands and suppliers in the apparel industry.
“We have been impressed not only by the early successes with leading brands and suppliers, but also by the team’s approach to building and owning this category. Such an understanding of the intricacies and complexities of the fashion supply chain can only come from a team of industry veterans, and having gotten to know Darren and the team, we have developed real conviction that this is an opportunity, approach, and team to back.”
With a philosophy of providing the fashion industry with the right mix of human expertise and digital tools, Material Exchange will expedite the transformation of material sourcing and facilitate informed sourcing choices for improved efficiencies and a healthier planet.
ABOUT MATERIAL EXCHANGE
Material Exchange is a fast-growing international virtual marketplace where data meets innovation in a revolutionary technology platform to transform the materials sourcing process and simplify complex relationships between footwear and apparel brands and material suppliers. The sooner the material sourcing industry shifts to digital, the sooner we can reduce the carbon footprint and increase sustainability. Leveraging accurate data delivers transparent, efficient, and cost-effective sourcing; protecting the planet is a by-product of doing business smarter.
Material Exchange consists of a marketplace where buyers can discover materials and corresponding material data, visuals, and sustainability data/certification input from suppliers. Suppliers subscribe to the platform and can upload, manage, and showcase their materials and share all relevant material data in predefined data models. Brands subscribe to the platform to connect with suppliers while leveraging the material management system in order to manage all their materials and workflows across teams in real-time. Under the overall multi-material marketplace are commission-focused Exchanges (e.g., for denim) for sourcing between brands and suppliers within specific materials.
The multi-category Exchanges and SaaS workflow tools exist to streamline and digitize the discovery and sourcing workflows, and to increase traceability of materials by allowing brands to easily track the material journey and gain a single-source-of-product truth into the makings of materials. Suppliers upload detailed sustainability and testing reports and brands have access to granular supply chain information.
Jessica Sundstrom, CMO & CRO
Mobile: (+46) 70 600 24 08