Natural fiber company raises $ 8.5 million to increase production



A Victoria-based company that produces compostable hemp-based fibers used in the manufacture of products such as cleaning wipes is set to expand its manufacturing footprint and begin marketing its natural fiber production process after have raised $ 8.5 million in equity.

Bast Fiber Technologies raised funds from existing investors and US private equity firm Merida Capital Holdings.

“With this funding under our belt, we can complete the final construction of our [European] manufacturing site, continue to invest in our raw material supply chain and engage in large-scale commercialization, ”said Managing Director Noel Hall.

Since the company was last funded a year ago, the number of customers using its natural bast fibers on commercial production lines has increased significantly, so investing in manufacturing capacity is critical to meet the high demand. market, Hall said.

The company raised $ 4.5 million last year, which allowed it to complete testing and start production.

Mina Mishrikey, Senior Partner at Merida Capital, said the Bast Fiber Technologies management team has an “unmatched” level of experience in the natural fibers and nonwovens markets. “The company’s product portfolio has the potential to be immediately adopted by consumers.

The company’s business model is based on a growing demand for sustainable fiber-based cleaning wipes and other products to be used in place of synthetic fiber products.

They target clients such as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Costco.

As governments consider phasing out single-use plastics and worry about rinsing non-biodegradable synthetic wipes, the company sees an opportunity to turn raw bast fibers from hemp, flax and jute into non-woven products, including including fully compostable cleaning wipes, diapers and personal care products.

“Over the past year, we’ve done a lot of fiber testing with our customers and it’s exciting to see this transition to commercial sales,” said President Jim Posa. “In the single-use segment alone, nearly six million tonnes of plastic fibers are used each year, and we will play a key role in reducing the traditional reliance of the nonwovens industry on the materials. synthetic. “

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