Cary-based PurThread has landed Cotton Incorporated, which is funded by US cotton producers and importers, to utilize its embedded anti-odor technology in cotton knit and woven fabrics. The deal is the latest in a series of major victories for the startup.

“It’s a great validation for PurThread,” an excited Lisa Grimes, CEO of PurThread, tells WRAL TechWire.

“As you can imagine, the validation of PurThread by such a highly regarded organization as Cotton Incorporated confirms the value we bring to the anti-odor market.

“Cotton Incorporated is well-known for their research with cotton, and we have been working with them for a while on this effort – through product development and lots of testing.”

PurThread’s tech is embedded permanently into fabrics, and while financial terms of the agreement, which was announced Wednesday, weren’t disclosed Grimes says Cotton Inc. putting PurThread through a proverbial wringer could mean a big payoff as manufacturers look for ways to improve their products.

“The ability to create cotton-rich fabrics that offer permanent anti-odor technology has several advantages, namely you still have the great feel of cotton, which people love, plus you get to wear clothes longer between washings,” she explains. “This is especially important in athletic apparel, as well as in the denim market, where many people prefer their jeans to retain the original look…that often means not wanting to wash them too often.

“When we hear stories about some of the things people do to avoid washing their jeans, we know PurThread can help!”

Mark Messura, Cotton Incorporated Senior Vice President for Global Supply Chain Marketing, embraced the PurThreat technology in the announcement..

“Consumers know and love cotton, and they have come to expect performance technologies like odor control in their athletic apparel. The continued growth of the athleisure category creates an ideal opportunity to expand established athletic apparel performance technologies to additional categories, such as denim,” he said.

PurThread offers other benefits, Grimes points out.

“Blending PurThread with cotton to offer permanent antimicrobial protection offers tangible benefits – apparel can be worn for longer periods of time between washings, helping to reduce water consumption, and energy usage,” she says. “This is an exciting collaboration that should yield some great new performance fabrics across multiple markets.”

More growth?

PurThread is still a lean organization with only eight employees. And the company isn’t seeking any additional financing right now, Grimes says. She won’t discuss the startup’s finances.

However, Grimes does talk openly about plans for growth and other deals.

“PurThread was recently launched in a travel shirt by a New Zealand outdoor retailer,” she notes.

“PurThread is also available in athletic medical apparel and pillowcases; and we are in various stages of negotiations for other products.”

As for the future, it’s pedal-to-the-metal.

“To continue to find other collaborations with industry leaders similar to Cotton Incorporated where the benefits of PurThread are apparent,” she explains when asked about growth strategy.

“.As Mark said, ‘Consumers have come to expect performance technologies like odor control in their athletic apparel,’ so we want to continue to expand in the athleisure and denim markets where the value of having long-lasting anti-odor protection of clothing is important to consumers.

“In addition, consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability, so being able to wear clothes longer between washings is good – and you can do that with PurThread!

“We are also continuing to pursue additional opportunities in the healthcare and home markets.”

Previous big wins for PurThread include Burlington and Kodak.

The company got its start in 2012 as a bacteria-fighting technology for hospitals. PurThread hired Grimes as CEO in July 2013 and later that year closed on $7 million in financing.