Plant-Based Indigo Manufacturer, Stony Creek Colors, Closes $4.8 Million Series B2 Funding Round To Scale Natural Dye Operations

SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. — December 1, 2022 — Stony Creek Colors, a Springfield, Tenn.-based manufacturer of natural indigo dye, has closed a $4.8 million Series B2 funding round co-led by the company’s long-standing partners, Lewis & Clark AgriFood and Levi Strauss & Co. Stony Creek Colors will use the capital to further develop its farming infrastructure and the dye extraction process to bring regenerative solutions to farmers and the textile industry.

Stony Creek Colors remains the only industrial scale manufacturer globally of 100-percent bio-based indigo, as certified by the USDA BioPreferred Program. Its vertically-integrated model allows for full traceability — down to the farm level — that brands and consumers trust. The funding will allow Stony Creek Colors to further refine its innovations, developed and field-proven over the past two years, as it advances toward scale.

“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 its inception, the company has successfully 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 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,” said Tim Hassler, managing director at Lewis & Clark AgriFood.

In addition to agriculture supply chain integrations, Stony Creek Colors is known for its innovations in new dye applications and customer point-of-use for this natural chemistry. Earlier this year, Stony Creek Colors 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 Colors. Stony Creek Colors’ 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.

“Our work with Stony Creek on the Levi’s® brand and our Wellthread collections has shown the potential of plant-based dyes,” said Paul Dillinger, Levi Strauss & Co., head of Global Product Innovation. “We’re excited to get more involved with the company by supporting its efforts to bring plant-based dyeing alternatives to market at scale.”

Stony Creek Colors’ vertically-integrated technology eliminates the major historical inefficiencies in plant-based indigo production to allow for a high-purity dye suitable for its industrial denim mill customers, while demonstrating a soil health enriching and climate positive chemical that fits well into farmers’ annual crop rotations. Today, Stony Creek is increasing accessibility of renewable color chemistries as demand for plant-based innovations rise in the fashion and textile markets.

Posted: December 1, 2022

Source: Lewis & Clark Agrifood