The Portuguese startup Smartex has secured $24.7 million in Series A funding to support the development of hardware-enabled, AI-driven software for the real-time detection of textile flaws. This comes after the business’s $2.9 million Seed round, which was jointly sponsored by DCVC and Spider Capital in 2019.

H&M Group, DCVC (which invested in Lumafield and Pano AI), SOSV’s HAX, Spider Capital, Momenta Ventures, Bombyx Growth Fund, Faber, and Fashion for Good were among the investors. With the help of these funds, Smartex launched several projects with its partners, including the Kering Group, PVH, Pangaia, and others.

With the funding, Smartex will strategically expand the company into new regions, build out the staff, and create new product lines to assist producers and fashion brands in better managing their production while enhancing the textile quality and traceability.

To enable industries all over the world to create with less waste, Smartex is currently present in several markets spanning Europe, Central Asia, South America, and Africa. In addition, the company wants to grow further into Asia in 2023.

“We are fortunate to be in a unique position to contribute intrinsic value to a massive business that is important and touches so many people, fueling our mission to sustainability and profitability of textile factories worldwide,” stated Gilberto Loureiro, Co-Founder, and CEO of Smartex. We will be able to pioneer a new chapter in the fashion business thanks to our technology and talent, which will ultimately result in less waste and spending. As we work to address this global issue and create a more sustainable environment, all efforts are required to produce positive results.

Antonio Rocha, CTO and co-founder, Gilberto Loureiro, CEO and co-founder, and Paulo Ribeiro, VP of Engineering and co-founder, established Smartex in Portugal in 2018. Gilberto was born, and raised by textile industrial employees, and spent his teenage years working in factories. Smartex was formed by three friends to address issues facing the textile industry and advance it via AI-based solutions.

The company employs 91 people in total, including interns, and 30% of them are women. There are 16 different nationalities on the team (Portuguese, Indian, Italian, Israeli, American, Canadian, Brazilian, Congolese, German, Turkish, Angolan, French, German, Chinese, British, and Tunisian). Brands like Tintex Textiles, Familitex, Toraman Tekstil, Ekoten, and others are among its clients.

Mario Jorge Silva, the founder of Tintex Textiles and HATA, stated in a video case study that “Smartex – with its artificial intelligence and tracking processes – is an economically viable solution because it not only saves time but also foresees and aids in the elimination of problems that may arise in the future.”

Antonio Rocha, co-founder, chief technology officer, and champion of the Web Summit’s 2021 PITCH Competition, claims, “Our customers are just as engaged with the things we are producing as we are.” “We are constantly listening to their feedback to develop solutions that will best benefit them. Together, we are creating a new era of waste-free, high-quality products that will enhance transparency and traceability throughout the whole textile supply chain, from yarn to retail.

Textile manufacturers produce enormous amounts of waste and other issues because they lack the equipment necessary for clean, transparent, and efficient production. According to reports, it is the third-largest polluting industry, contaminating 20% of clean water and producing 10% of the world’s greenhouse gases.

The margins in the textile business are extremely slim, and the defect rate is very high. To find textile flaws, manual inspection and human vision are required. Smartex provides real-time textile fault identification, data-driven analysis, and alarms to enable textile manufacturers to take control of their manufacturing lines.

By immediately stopping production to stop the wastage of materials, Smartex’s automated identification technology saves textile waste, CO2 emissions, energy, water, production time, and capital expense.

Image Credit: Smartex


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