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Bio-dye maker Huue raises $14.6M, with HSBC backing

Jul 27, 2022
Illustration of a tie dye pattern with dollar signs in it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Huue, a San Francisco-based startup that is piloting a bio-based dye, raised $14.6 million in Series A funding, the company tells Axios.

Why it matters: Natural dyes have grown in popularity in recent years but remain an expensive alternative to widely available petrochemical-based dyes, leaving the door open for experimental approaches to coloring food and clothes.

Details: Material Impact led the all-equity round, and partner Corinna Chen is taking a board seat as part of the deal. Huue declined to disclose its valuation.

  • HSBC Asset Management’s Climate Tech VC joined as a new investor, and existing investors SOSV’s IndieBio, CRISPR inventor Jennifer Doudna, and Jamie Cate participated in the round.

How it works: Huue's technology was developed in a research capacity at UC Berkeley. It identifies which enzymes in a plant or animal creates color and then codes microbes to reproduce the specific enzyme.

  • Huue is currently working on a pilot for indigo production, which is commonly used in denim manufacturing.

Between the lines: Huue is still operating at an early enough stage that it is unclear how cost-competitive its dyes could be at a larger scale.

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