Sustainable tech developer Xefco raises $10.5m for a greener fashion industry

Sustainable tech developer Xefco raises $10.5m for a greener fashion industry

Tom Hussey, the CEO and co-founder of Xefco

Sustainable manufacturing tech company Xefco’s mission to create a greener supply chain for the fashion industry has been given a major boost following a $10.5 million capital raising led by the CSIRO’s venture capital arm Main Sequence.

The funds will aid Xefco in commercialising its patented Ausora technology which provides a water-free textile finishing and dyeing solution to the industry which the company notes is among the world’s biggest sources of industrial water pollution.

Xefco’s debut product, XReflex which improves the thermal efficiency of insulated clothing, is already used by some of the world’s biggest fashion brands including Zara, The North Face and Salomon.

The company, which is headquartered in Sydney, undertakes its research in Geelong and has a branch office in Taiwan, is now working with major brands to develop Ausora.

“The existing wet processes used to put colour and other functional properties on fabrics have the biggest environmental footprint of the entire fashion supply chain,” says Xefco CEO and co-founder Tom Hussey.

“These outdated, resource-intensive operations have not changed in centuries. It’s destroying our waterways and our planet. We’re determined to create a greener supply chain for the fashion industry.”

Co-founded in 2018 by Hussey and Brian Conolly, Xefco has spent the past six years advancing innovative textile solutions for the industry with its technology drawing the attention of several venture capital firms.

In addition to Main Sequence, the latest $10.5 million round has attracted new investments from Breakthrough Victoria and Virescent Ventures, which invested on behalf of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Existing investors Investible and Voyagers Climate-Tech Fund also participated in the round, some of which will be used by Xefco to grow its team.

Xefco says its Ausora technology could be critical in helping reduce pollutants from textile production with textile finishing and dyeing said to be responsible for a fifth of global industrial water pollution.

Ausora is said to provide the industry a greener method of waterless dyeing and finishing textiles through a unique shower plasma process that produces “the same look, feel and performance properties” of textiles with a smaller environmental footprint.

Xefco says it already has a number of pilot projects under way for Ausora with major sportswear, outdoor and fashion brands.

“Our Ausora systems have been designed to plug and play into existing supply chains to help brands and manufacturers easily transition to a cleaner textile process,” says Hussey.

“Dyeing and finishing drive the biggest impacts in the textile supply chain. Whereas, compared to conventional wet dyeing and finishing, our process eliminates the use of water and cuts energy, chemical consumption and cost.

“Our technology has the potential to stop millions of tonnes of waste entering our waterways and CO2 from entering our planet.”

Xefco’s research operations are based at Deakin University’s ManuFutures hub at the Waurn Ponds campus in Geelong where it has already secured grants totalling about $4 million from Deakin’s Recycling and Clean Energy Commercialisation Hub.

Jun Qu, investment manager at Main Sequence says Xefco’s technology addresses an “often-overlooked element of the fashion supply chain, one that is critical to global climate repair”.

“There’s no sustainable future without sustainable fashion and we see immense potential for Xefco to accelerate the decarbonisation of the global textile industry,” says Qu.

Breakthrough Victoria CEO Grant Dooley also sees Xefco’s potential to help global fashion brands move towards more eco-friendly and efficient manufacturing processes.

“With research and development based in Geelong and 10 regional Victorian manufacturers already collaborating with Xefco on design and manufacturing, BV believes this investment can help establish Victoria as a leader in advanced textile manufacturing systems,” says Dooley.

Nightingale Partners has been a long-time backer of Xefco’s founders Hussey and Conolly, including Conolly’s time as founder of clothing brand Zhik.

“Nightingale Partners has supported Xefco founders Tom and Brian for over 10 years, first in Zhik and now in Xefco, and we are delighted with their progress,” says Francisco Dias Costa, investment manager at Nightingale Partners.

“We expect Xefco to carry the flag for Australian engineering ingenuity and significantly reduce the textile industry’s water, energy and chemical pollution by introducing a more sustainable dyeing and finishing technology.”

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