SPRINGFIELD – Stony Creek Colors, the US-based manufacturer of natural indigo dye, has closed a US$4.8m Series B2 funding round co-led by the company’s partners, Lewis & Clark AgriFood and Levi Strauss & Co. The business will use the capital to further develop its farming infrastructure and dye extraction process.
Stony Creek is the only industrial scale manufacturer of 100 per cent bio-based indigo, as certified by the USDA BioPreferred Program. Its vertically-integrated model allows for full traceability–down to the farm level.
“Stony Creek Colors was founded on the idea of harnessing naturally occurring chemicals in plants, to solve fashion industry challenges while giving farmers a profitable regenerative rotational crop,” said Sarah Bellos, founder and CEO of Stony Creek Colors. “Our past collaboration with Levi Strauss & Co. as a customer allowed us to bring important denim supply chain innovations, such as IndiGold, to life. This equity round initiates our next phase of long-term growth.”
Since forming, Stony Creek has grown, harvested, and processed its proprietary indigo varieties on over 500 acres of farmland through its repeatable and expandable farmer production model in Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida. The company’s natural indigo process fixes nitrogen and – it is claimed – captures more carbon than it uses, enabling environmental improvements for the farms where the crops are grown.
Farmers planning to break up pest cycles or boost soil fertility with “cover crops” can rotate their farmland with Stony Creek Colors’ tropical indigo, which simultaneously provides them with viable revenue per acre and meets important regenerative agriculture goals.
“Stony Creek’s 2021 investment round allowed for the expansion of its production into a more tropical region where its improved plant genetics are well suited. With this current investment round, the company is poised to reach a greater scale in agricultural production and processing to meet growing demand for clean colors in the textile industry,” says Tim Hassler, managing director at Lewis & Clark AgriFood.
In addition to agriculture supply chain integrations, Stony Creek is known for its innovations in new dye applications and customer point-of-use for this natural chemistry. Earlier this year, Stony Creek publicly launched IndiGold, the first plant-derived, pre-reduced indigo for denim mills, with global specialty chemicals leader Archroma. This product delivers on a long sought-after commercial drop-in solution for industrial denim production.
This investment for jeanswear company Levi Strauss and Co., headquartered in San Francisco, comes five years after an initial collaboration with Stony Creek. Stony Creek’s plant-based dyes were piloted as part of the Levi Strauss & Co. Wellthread collection, a living R&D lab that addresses design and manufacturing challenges in order to create a more sustainable future through innovative products.