Stony Creek Colors, Inc. closes Series B funding totalling $9M led by Lewis and Clark AgrFood

Funding will be used to scale the new industry standard for a stable, plant-based blue colorant for use in textiles, food, and cosmetics. The company is one of the few ag tech startups in US with a female founder.

Stony Creek Colors, Inc., a producer of natural indigo dye, today announced the first closing of its Series B financing round, expected to total over $9 million.

Lewis and Clark AgriFood, a St. Louis-based food and agriculture focused investment firm, led the round. Other participants included Innova Ag Innovation Fund and iSelect, as well as funds that had participated in earlier rounds of financing, including Green Spark Capital and Next Wave Impact.

Founded in 2012 and based in Springfield, TN, Stony Creek Colors is the leading producer of high purity natural indigo — a plant-based blue dye that can meet the growing global demand for natural colorants in fabric and food. The company has developed and validated technology that enables it to profitably supply the market with in-demand indigo plant-based color, enabling a transition from synthetic, petroleum-based processes that rely on toxic chemicals.

With this financing, Stony Creek Colors has secured the capital needed to scale operations, allowing a geographic expansion of its proprietary indigo-producing crops and processing capabilities to bring its dye to more denim mills.

“Today, the synthetic indigo used in denim relies on petroleum-based processes that leave behind toxic residue on jeans. Stony Creek Color’s plant-made indigo is free of these toxins, providing a healthier and more sustainable solution for coloring denim.” said Stony Creek Colors’ CEO Sarah Bellos

“We are extremely proud to partner with Sarah and Stony Creek Colors, which is one of the few ag tech startups led by a female founder,” said David Taiclet, General Partner & Managing Director at Lewis & Clark AgriFood. “This investment aligns with our thesis built around the rising consumer focus on natural and sustainable plant-based ingredients.”

The company’s BioPreferredTM-certified plant-based indigo is free of the hazardous chemicals currently under scrutiny by leading denim brands. “Today, the synthetic indigo used in denim relies on petroleum-based processes that leave behind toxic residue on jeans. Stony Creek Color’s plant-made indigo is free of these toxins, providing a healthier and more sustainable solution for coloring denim,” said Sarah Bellos, Stony Creek Colors’ CEO. “In addition, our indigo-producing crops create a high value rotation opportunity for farmers, sequester carbon in the soil, and reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizers.”

Tim Hassler, Managing Director at Lewis and Clark AgriFood, has joined Stony Creek Color’s Board of Directors. “Our team has identified natural indigo as a high value investment opportunity supported by a very strong market demand,” said Hassler. “We are impressed by the company’s strong intellectual property and its leadership team, and we are confident the strong agribusiness networks at Lewis and Clark can help propel the company through its next phase of growth.”

Dean Didato, General Manager at Innova Memphis, which invested through its Ag Innovation Fund IV stated, “We are impressed with what Sarah and her team have built in Springfield, TN recognizing how incredibly challenging it is to introduce a “new” crop to an area, establish an industrial processing method and acquire customers. The ingenuity here is in Sarah’s vision to offer tobacco farmers with an alternative high margin specialty crop that largely parallels current farming practices and more fully utilizes pre-existing capital equipment, bringing those farmers new means to generate revenue.”

“We are pleased to partner with Lewis and Clark AgriFood to enable our expansion with investors holding deep agriculture and operating expertise and a focus on sustainable growth in emerging sectors,” said Bellos. “Customer demands for cleaner color and the removal of toxic chemicals from their products will not wane. Our proven plant-based indigo solutions offer an exciting opportunity for brands to exceed customer expectations. This investment will leverage our new technology, from seed to extraction, to help bring Stony Creek Colors through a phase of rapid growth.”

 

About Stony Creek Colors

Stony Creek Colors has developed proprietary technology that is transforming the dye supply chain, enabling a transition from petroleum-based processes that rely on toxic chemicals to naturally sourced colors made in indigo crops. The company has developed the full agricultural value chain for plant-based indigo, developing crops that improve profitability and soil ecosystem health for farmers. Stony Creek Colors partners with leading dyehouses to bring consistent and scalable natural colors into industrial use and is expanding its clean color innovation into verticals such as cosmetics, personal care, and food. The company is the fastest growing natural indigo manufacturer globally. To learn more visit www.stonycreekcolors.com.

 

About Lewis & Clark AgriFood

Lewis & Clark AgriFood is a St. Louis-based group of experienced investment professionals that are passionate about investing in companies that are at the forefront of food and agriculture innovation. We look for companies that deliver benefits to the stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector, from the producer, through the supply chain, all the way to the consumer. We invest in companies that are at the growth stage of their evolution, poised to scale their technology to a national or global scale. As founders, operators, investors and scientists, our seasoned investment team brings a breadth of quality sector experience to every investment. For more information, visit www.lewisandclarkagrifood.com or connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.