sewts raises €7m to shape the future of robotics, automation in the textile industry
Munich-based industrial automation and deep tech startup sewts, announced it has closed a €7 million Series A financing round. The funding round was led by Emerald Technology Ventures, CNB Capital, EquityPitcher Ventures and Nabtesco Technology Venture as new investors. sewts also received further contributions from existing shareholders Bayern Kapital, APEX Ventures and HTGF. With the new funding sewts will accelerate the roll-out of the sewts.VELUM systems across international laundries and enter new markets, such as the processing of clothing returns in e-commerce.
sewts automizes what others cannot. Whereas (bin-)picking of rigid materials like metals is quite easy for robots, handling deformable and soft materials (like textiles) is still unchartered territory for robotic automation. With its unique approach of combining AI, robotics and material simulation, sewts is providing robots with human- like perception and grasping capabilities and making the automatic handling of textiles possible for the first time.
The industrial laundry market is often underestimated, but in fact, it has a multi-billion dollar global market size. With unprecedented market demand for automation solutions, sewts is developing additional use cases for the textile production life cycle.
The new technology is not only needed to overcome labor shortage but, more importantly, it will help achieve global climate objectives and protect human rights. According to the World Resources Institute, the garment industry emitted 1.025 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide in 2019. This number will keep growing if there are no countermeasures. Bringing the production and recycling of textiles closer to consumer markets will significantly reduce transportation-associated CO2 emissions, overproduction and waste.
sewts’ long-term vision is automating clothes production. sewts is planning to automate the handling of returned clothes in e-commerce. With the support of the German Otto Group, sewts has already created a prototype for this use case.
sewts was founded in 2019. In 2022 it launched its first series-ready product sewts.VELUM – a robotic cell designed to help industrial laundries overcome challenging labor shortages and strengthen operating efficiencies. The system automatically picks crumpled, laundered towels and feeds them into folding machines to reduce manual workload at a human-like speed.
Alexander Bley, Co-founder and CEO, sewts: “Our long-term vision is a “moonshot” idea – to revolutionize the production of textiles. To get there, we first dedicate ourselves to the most promising niche markets and then approach the big vision step by step.”
The new shareholder structure demonstrates that sewts has stepped out of the German robotics start-up landscape and is ready to fulfil its international growth ambitions. With the support of Emerald as a leading European tech and industrial VC aiming for a sustainable future, Nabtesco as the global leader in manufacturing technology for the robotics industry, CNB and EquityPitcher as well-known robotics investors, sewts is well-suited to shape the future of automation in the textile industry.
Michal Natora, Investment Director, Emerald: “Physical AI will enable the automation of complex, laborious tasks which so far had to be done by humans. We think that, through physical AI, freed-up human capital will be one of the biggest productivity drivers in the next decade. Our investment in sewts comes from the conviction that this company has the ingredients to become one of the leaders in physical AI. sewts entered the market by bringing industrial robots to commercial laundries for the first time, generating very strong market demand for its initial product sewts.VELUM.”