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Unspun just added more fuel to its fire. On Wednesday, the robotics and digital apparel company announced that it raised $7.5 million in seed funding to further its mission of eliminating waste in jeans production.
The company made headlines when it debuted in 2015 with a proprietary algorithm and fit technology to generate custom-fit jeans. Just hours after launching its iOS app that uses a 10-second body scan to collect precise measurements, it racked up a 1,500-customer waitlist. It has also partnered with H&M on a line of denim and welcomed former Levi’s head of design Jonathan Cheung, who joined the Unspun’s advisory board in September 2020.
The funding round was led by entrepreneur Josh Buckley, owner of investment firms Buckley Ventures and Hyper, and included participation from angel investors, technology companies and venture capital firms such as Lachy Groom, Signia, Fifty Years, Rarebreed, Apex Black, AVG, 8 Sleep, SOSV and Superhuman.
According to investor Duncan Turner, general partner SOSV, and managing director at venture capital-based program Hax, Unspun’s business model is appealing as both an investor and a customer.
“The Unspun team opened my eyes to the horrific waste within the fast fashion industry and inspired me with their solution for fixing it: Make the best jeans you ever owned, in the U.S., without any waste,” he said. “Simple and brilliant, just like the jeans which I wear proudly as a first customer.”
Co-founder Walden Lam noted that, like Turner, many of Unspun’s investors are also customers, which he said makes this “not a typical funding round, [but] a movement.”
The San Francisco- and Hong Kong-based company’s mission is to reduce global carbon emissions by 1 percent through automated, localized and intentional manufacturing. Its made-to-order business model helps eliminate standing inventory and returns, and better aligns profitability with sustainability.
“This is a pivotal moment for fashion. With our combined software and hardware tech, we’ve unlocked not just customized fit at scale, but also customized design and on-demand production at scale,” said co-founder Beth Esponnette. “We can’t wait to see what comes of our tech in collaboration with the creators of the world—people who wear jeans. And after that is a new approach to circularity that fashion’s never seen.”
Previous investors include the U.S. National Science Foundation, HAX (SOSV), Highland Capital, The Mills Fabrica, Sequoia (scout), HK Cyberport, Fifty Years, Prelude Ventures, Novetex, Climate Capital, Straubel Foundation.
Next up, the company is setting its sights on on-shore robotic manufacturing, which will allow fully localized, automated, on-demand and profitable U.S. production within minutes. It also aims to become B Corp-certified in the next few months.
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