Rubi Laboratories, the San Francisco, CA-based developer of carbon-negative cellulosic textiles, raised $4.5m in seed funding.
The round was led by Talis Capital and Necessary Ventures, with participation from Climactic, Collaborative Fund, Plug and Play, Incite Ventures, Darco Capital, Cayuse Partners, Axial VC, Climate Capital Collective, CapitalX and angels, including James Reinhart, CEO and founder of thredUP; Manny Mashouf, CEO and founder of Bebe Stores; Nicolaj Reffstrup, founder of GANNI; Alexander Lorestanti, CEO and co-founder of Geltor; and Rei Wang, co-founder of The Grand and former CEO of Dorm Room Fund. The round also includes a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
The company intends to use the funding for R&D and commercialization.
Founded in 2020 by Neeka and Leila Mashouf, Rubi Laboratories is pioneering the creation of carbon negative cellulosic textiles through its patent-pending, cell-free biocatalytic process, starting with viscose. To do this, Rubi captures CO2 from the waste streams of manufacturing facilities using its proprietary enzyme system which can capture and convert CO2 from a gas input at any concentration. The CO2 is then converted into cellulose, which can then be used to create viscose-based yarn. By utilizing enzymes as the catalyst, Rubi is able to turn 100% of CO2 inputted to the end product with zero waste.
While Rubi will initially focus on the fashion market, the company’s longer-term plans include applying the same technology to other industries such as food, packaging and building materials.