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Smartex raises $27M to catch defects and reduce waste in textile manufacturing
Hannah DeTavis
Smartex
Smartex is on a mission to catch textile defects early on in the knitting stage—bolstering sustainability in fabric manufacturing and boosting factories’ margins as a result. Source: Smartex

HAX’s Portugal-based startup Smartex recently raised a $24.7M Series A to reduce defects in textile manufacturing and reduce waste, which was covered in outlets like TechCrunch and Sifted. Led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tony Fadell’s Build Collective, the funding round builds on a $2.9M seed round co-led by Spider Capital and DCVC in 2019. The Series A also garnered support from retail giant H&M Group, SOSV’s HAX, DCVC, Spider Capital, Momenta Ventures, Bombyx Capital Partners, and Fashion for Good.

Smartex (HAX 2018) uses computer vision hardware and machine learning software to spot weaving defects in fabric early in the production process, long before human inspectors normally spot irregularities. This early detection prevents waste that occurs when flawed fabrics are caught late in the supply chain. 

Smartex CEO Gilberto Loureiro told Sifted that the company’s “gamechanger” was its admittance to HAX in 2019, which introduced Smartex’s founders to its new lead investors.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Loureiro shared the origin story driving his passion for sustainable textile manufacturing: “I was born and raised by textile factory workers [and] I worked in factories when I was a teenager. I have a Master’s in physics, and the textile industry has been chasing me ever since,” he said. “We co-founded Smartex because we’re obsessed with solving problems—and the textile industry has big ones. It’s probably the industry with the worst ratio size/automation. Textile factories don’t have the tools to produce in a clean, transparent, efficient way … generating massive amounts of waste and other problems.”