Natural Fiber Welding raises US$85M to scale production of plastic-free, all-natural Mirum composites, which mimic leather, carbon fibers for footwear, fashion, automotive markets; funding to also Clarus recycled fabrics, which do not shed microplastics

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PEORIA, Illinois , May 27, 2022 (press release) –

  • Evolution VC Partners leads broad coalition of investors including Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Collaborative Fund, Tattarang, and Engine No.1
  • The Peoria-based company is also extending its product offerings to molded composite materials to enable and encourage global brand partners to design unprecedented, comprehensively circular products.

Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. (NFW) today announced that they have closed an $85 million funding round to scale production of high-performance, all-natural, circular materials products coming to market with a wide array of global brand partners. Evolution VC Partners led the round, with participation by Tattarang, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Collaborative Fund, AiiM Partners, Engine No.1, Raga Partners, Tidal Impact, Scrum Ventures, and Gaingels. Return investors include BMW i Ventures, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Advantage Capital, and Central Illinois Angels.

Founded in 2015, NFW is a material innovation company providing the global footwear, fashion, accessories, and automotive industries with new material platforms to create low carbon, all natural, bio-neutral products. NFW engineers and manufactures: CLARUS®, a family of high-performance, all-natural textiles; and MIRUM®, the only next-generation, zero-plastic complement to leather. NFW's global customer base includes leading brands who are aiming to provide their consumers with beautiful, high-performance petrochemical-free materials.

NFW is using the Series B funding to continue scaling the CLARUS® and MIRUM® materials platforms in order to meet global demand. The Peoria-based company is also extending its product offerings to molded composite materials to enable and encourage global brand partners to design unprecedented, comprehensively circular products.

“We envision a world that doesn’t rely on plastic, where abundant natural materials enable people and the planet to thrive together,” said Luke Haverhals, CEO and founder of Natural Fiber Welding. “We’re here to leave the world better than we found it and we look forward to working with our brand partners to build a comprehensively circular coalition for the planet.”

MIRUM® is a categorically unique, all-natural material engineered for the footwear, fashion, automotive, and accessories markets. MIRUM®’s customizability means it can look like anything from leather to carbon fiber, making it a high-performance solution for designers and brands looking to shrink their footprint and expand their creative palettes. Global brands including Alexander McQueen (MCQ), Pangaia, Bellroy, H&M, and Camper have adopted MIRUM® and are in market.

CLARUS® is a family of performance fabrics made from recycled and/or virgin natural fibers, which do not shed toxic microplastics. Imbuing natural fibers with new levels of performance closes critical gaps in the circular economy for the textile industry. NFW manufactures CLARUS® materials with closed-loop green chemistry that enables new efficiencies while delivering unrivaled performance. This year, Ralph Lauren used the platform to launch a first-to-market product innovation, the RLX CLARUS® Polo Shirt, exclusively at the 2022 Australian Open Tennis Tournament. Chaco, a Wolverine Worldwide brand, is in market with recycled cotton CLARUS® shoe uppers that displace synthetic uppers.

“The world has become allergic to plastics, which have permeated every aspect of our lives, and we need to reverse this trend,” said Gregg Smith, founder of Evolution VC Partners. “NFW has proven product-market fit with disruptive high-performance, all-natural materials. The next generation of consumers will pressure every industry—from automotive to apparel and furniture—to eliminate petrochemical usage, and NFW’s advanced materials solve those problems.”

NFW’s transformational work received two major awards in recent weeks. Fast Company listed NFW as a World’s Most Innovative Company, and NFW won Conservation X Labs’ Microfiber Innovation Challenge for their ability to reduce and prevent microfiber pollution.

“In our 24/7 mission to help industry wean us all from toxic and indestructible plastic, we meet a lot of well intended innovators who are not actually fixing the root cause of the plastic crisis, but giving polluters a fig leaf bandaid,” said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of ‘A Plastic Planet.’ “So you can imagine how excited we were to meet Dr. Luke Haverhals of NFW and learn of their totally radical imagining of how we create materials of the future. Dr. Haverhals simplifies this revolution with characteristic humility but from our global viewpoint, NFW will be the pioneers of an extraordinary rethink in how we take, make and waste; creating a new language of materials, nutrients that remain nutrients throughout their entire lifecycles; materials that nature freely gives, and happily takes back. This is just the beginning but already NFW is scaling fast, soon to be replacing toxic synthetic materials in the millions of tonnes. May others follow fast in these new tracks on a very different path.”

To learn more about Natural Fiber Welding, please visit: https://naturalfiberwelding.com/.

If you’re interested in joining our team, please reach out: https://www.naturalfiberwelding.com/people/careers

ABOUT NFW

Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) is a material innovation company giving industries all natural material platforms to create and manufacture responsibly. NFW invents and manufactures shockingly sustainable products from plants. Beginning with inherently circular, natural ingredients, NFW is making a material-rich, plastic-free future possible. NFW was founded in 2015 and is based in Peoria, Illinois.

ABOUT CLARUS®

NFW’s technology imbues 100% natural textiles with previously-unachievable performance. Quick-drying, moisture-wicking, warp-knit compatible: CLARUS® makes it possible naturally. The CLARUS® platform works with both recycled and virgin natural fibers, closing critical gaps in the circular economy. CLARUS® runs on closed-loop green chemistry that enables new efficiencies while delivering unequaled performance.

ABOUT MIRUM®

MIRUM® is a categorically unique, all natural material that is perfect for footwear, fashion, automotive, and accessories. MIRUM®’s miraculous customizability means it can look like leather or carbon fiber — you decide. MIRUM® is a high-performance solution for designers and brands looking to shrink their footprint and expand their creative palettes. At the end of its life, MIRUM® can be recycled into new MIRUM® or ground up and returned to the earth: At last, a climate-friendly, plastic-free option.

Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC represented NFW in the transaction.

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