Cambridge textile dyeing spinout Colorifix has been backed by Cambridge Enterprise and retailer H&M in its first disclosed equity round.

Colorifix, a UK-based textile-dyeing spinout of University of Cambridge, has secured $3m in a series A round backed by university tech transfer office Cambridge Enterprise.

The round was led by impact investment consultancy Challenger 88 and also featured Primera Impact, a VC fund collaboration between University of Cambridge and Primera Capital, and H&M Co:Lab, the corporate venturing arm of fashion retailer H&M.

Founded in 2016, Colorifix has devised a synthetic biology-based dyeing process for textiles that discharges less toxic chemicals and waste while using less water and energy than conventional petrochemical-based systems.

The approach relies on by-products of organisms such as insects and plants in order to create a range of pigments that can be affixed to artificial or natural fabrics without using heavy metals, solvents or acids.

Colorifix’s co-founders include James Ajioka, a senior university lecturer at University of Cambridge’s Department of Pathology, along with Orr Yarkoni, a postdoctoral research fellow in the same department.

The series A cash will facilitate a recruitment drive and the expansion of Colorifix’s facility as the spinout begins piloting its product with international fashion vendors.

Yarkoni, also chief executive of Colorifix, said: “It took us a while to find the right investors but I really do not think we could have built a more strategic and impactful partnership moving forwards than the one we have now.

“Our investors are passionate about our mission towards the environment and will certainly help us on the long road to changing a global industry.”