RALEIGH – Aries, the most recent company to be founded and launched by serial entrepreneur Chris Evans, will partner with ZVerse, which shifted operations in 2020 and quickly became one of the leading providers of face shields and protective equipment in the county, to distribute and sell the startup’s featured product, the Aries Work Week Face Mask.
The company announced the partnership in a statement, noting that their mask will be sold alongside the ZVerse line of face shield products and that the masks provide a complement to the company’s current product suite, including a package bundle now available for purchase on the ZVerse ZShield website.
The masks are manufactured with Captur, a novel, engineered fabric technology that combines non-woven polypropylene and Ingeo biopolymer, a sustainable polymer with a lower carbon footprint, to provide a high level of protective filtration combined with maximum breathability, wrote WRAL TechWire earlier this month.
According to Evans, the fabric used in the face masks was developed in response to the supply chain constraints of meltblown fabric, which is typically used in medical masks and which contributed to the mask shortages.
Meltblown fabric is often an important component of medical masks because it has an electrostatic charge that captures sub-micron particles, increasing the filtration capabilities. But, because Captur’s unique manufacturing process adds an electrostatic charge, a meltblown layer is not needed, resulting in a single-layer mask with both high filtration and breathability.
Prior to the pandemic, ZVerse provided 3D printing software, but pivoted to manufacturing face shields in March of 2020, which the company’s founder discussed in a profile with his alma mater, the University of South Carolina last year.
Aries raised $1.2 million from regional angel investors, which Evans noted came almost entirely through Zoom meetings, in July 2020 and now manufactures the company’s high-performance face masks at a factory in Sanford with fabric from North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles.
Triangle entrepreneur Scot Wingo is on the board of directors for ZVerse and is also an investor in the company, which raised a $3.5 million Series A in 2015.