Through our $20 Million & Change venture fund, we’re investing in a groundbreaking company working to create better chemistry for outdoor apparel that helps the planet

by Corey Simpson

Chemicals are a required component in achieving the high performance needed for harsh outdoor conditions – it’s what makes waterproof materials stand up to torrential wilderness downpours, jackets that can resist wind on a steep pitch and pants that have the right amount of protection as you’re knee-deep in fresh powder.

And yet, these chemicals we rely on for technical performance can be toxic and persist in the environment, a serious issue Patagonia is tackling aggressively. We recently discussed the ups and downs around this issue in a blog post on The Cleanest Line.

Today, Patagonia is announcing a strategic investment in Beyond Surface Technologies – a fast growing Swiss company founded in 2008 by scientists and marketing experts with more than 40 years of experience in the textile industry. They left careers at big chemical companies and now they’re successfully doing business on the premise that we can make textile treatments based on natural raw materials – without sacrificing performance or reducing the lifespan of our product.

“This is the tension we feel every day, making the best technical products for our core sports and working to fulfill our environmental commitments,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. “We look for better, cleaner, safer ways to do things, we apply our own R&D and look for brilliant companies to partner with. Beyond Surface Technologies has the potential to help Patagonia and our entire industry get to the next level of chemical safety without compromising performance, and we’re very excited to invest in their success.”

The investment comes through Patagonia’s $20 Million & Change fund, which launched in 2013 to help innovative, like-minded companies bring solutions to the environmental crisis and other positive change through business. Or, in our founder Yvon Chouinard’s words, helping entrepreneurs and innovators succeed in “working with nature rather than using it up.”

Matthias Foessel, CEO of Beyond Surface Technologies said, “Patagonia’s investment gives us the opportunity to accelerate testing and reduce time to market for our pipeline of groundbreaking new treatments for the entire apparel industry. Patagonia is enabling us to grow even faster – benefiting the environment and enhancing product performance – while remaining completely independent and in control of the original founders. This is truly unique.”

Consistent with prior environmental innovations over the past 20 years, Patagonia plans to share any breakthroughs Beyond Surface Technologies may produce with the entire outdoor industry in order to amplify the environmental impact to the greatest extent possible.

For more information about BST, visit their website here.

Patagonia has received interest from more than 600 companies who share similar business and environmental missions, and invested in 10 companies to date, including Bureo Skateboards, Kina’Ole SolarCO2 Nexus, Yerdle and California Safe Soil, among others.