Victoria, British Columbia-based Bast Fibre Technologies, a natural fibre engineering company focused on the non-wovens industry, has raised C$4.5 million in financing. Lightburn Group and Natural Products Canada led the round.
VICTORIA, BC – June 2, 2020 – Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. (BFTi), a natural fibre engineering firm focussed on the nonwovens industry, announces the closing of a $4.5M CAD equity financing. The investment, which was led by the Lightburn group and Natural Products Canada (NPC), includes significant participation from existing investors and from new individual investors.
“Since our founding in 2016, BFTi has been driven to perfect our natural fibre technology and establish a robust IP suite,” said Noel Hall, Chairman and CEO of BFTi. “The company is now ready to take the next step and begin the commercial phase of our growth. This financing will allow us to complete trial work with our customers, file additional IP and finish the build-out of a dedicated bast fibre processing facility. BFTi is well placed to meet the sustained demand for disinfecting wipes created by the Covid-19 pandemic, at a time when new legislation forthcoming in multiple jurisdictions requires a shift from synthetic to natural fibres.”
Nonwovens are high-tech engineered fabrics made from a variety of different fibres and are used in both consumer and industrial applications. Nonwoven products are ubiquitous in daily life and include absorbent hygiene products, disinfectant cleaning wipes, personal care wipes and makeup removers. Most of the fibres used in the nonwovens industry today are either synthetic or semi-synthetic and are major contributors to landfills and ocean microplastic contamination. By contrast, BFTi’s fibres are completely natural, plastic free, fully compostable, sourced from an annually renewable crop, and provide a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, BFTi’s proprietary fibres offer enhanced performance characteristics when compared with traditional synthetic and semi-synthetic fibres.
“Our investment is crucial to furthering BFTi’s mission to displace synthetic and semi-synthetic fibres in the nonwovens industry, and to help create single-use products that are both environmentally and economically sustainable,” said Shelley King, CEO of NPC. “Most of the hemp grown in Canada today is used for CBD production or as a seed crop for food. BFTi will play an important role in building long-term demand for hemp straw and realizing the vision of whole hemp plant utilization.”
In conjunction with the closing of the financing Ben Lightburn, an experienced CEO and natural products entrepreneur, has joined the BFTi Board of Directors. Mr. Lightburn will help the company transition to becoming a commercial-stage enterprise. “I am excited to join the board of BFTi and to contribute to the company’s next phase of growth,” said Mr. Lightburn. “There is no doubt that consumers are driving the shift towards natural products and that with impending new regulations limiting the use of synthetic materials the nonwovens industry is certainly feeling the pressure to adopt more sustainable fibres in its supply chain.”
ABOUT BAST FIBRE TECHNOLOGIES INC. – www.bastfibretech.com
Bast Fibre Technologies Inc. is a bast fibre engineering firm based in Canada that develops, manufactures and markets IP protected enhancements for hemp, flax and other bast fibres; and delivers these fibres to high-value consumer and industrial product markets. BFTi’s proprietary processes allow the transformation of annually renewable bast fibre feedstock from a variety of sources into high-performance, luxe-quality, eco-friendly (biodegradable, compostable, plastic/microplastic free) end products in the nonwovens market.
ABOUT NATURAL PRODUCTS CANADA – www.naturalproductscanada.com
Natural Products Canada (NPC) is the driving force behind Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster – a strategic community of SMEs, research institutes, corporations, investors, government departments, and others who support the development and commercialization of naturally-derived products and technologies that can be applied to a broad range of industries. NPC offers Commercialization Programs to advance high-potential products and technologies; provides connections and innovation scouting services to industry and investors; and leverages its Investment Fund to help develop and de-risk promising Canadian opportunities. NPC has over 600 opportunities in its pipeline, has completed 11 investments, and has already experienced two exits. NPC is funded by a range of public and private investors, including the Government of Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research (CECR) program, administered by the Networks of Centres of Excellence.