Green Alley Award finalist continues its successful path

4 October 2022

In September, the Italian startup, Atelier Riforma received investment from two international business angels. It also won the “Welfare che impresa!” award from the Accenture Italian Foundation.

Enabling circular fashion, by using artificial intelligence (AI) and a digital platform, Atelier Riforma is helping the fashion industry to optimise the reuse and resale of textile waste – and reduce its environmental impact through the circular economy.

The company’s Re4Circular technology helps stakeholders in the supply chain to direct each discarded garment down the best recovery route, whether that is reuse, recycling, upcycling or an alternative solution.

Re4Circular is a digital marketplace that matches B2B supply and demand for used clothing, and uses AI to extract, from an image of the garment, all the data needed for its recovery.

This year, Atelier Riforma’s founders, Elena Ferrero and Sara Secondo, decided to focus on securing investment, specifically targeting “impact” investors (those who are interested in the environmental and social implications of their investment).

“Fundraising in the early-stage phase is one of the key activities of a startup, but it is also one of the most difficult, especially for first-time starter-uppers,” said Elena. “This last year was extremely challenging for us, but we did our best because we deeply believe in the usefulness of our project.”

In February 2022, Elena and Sara met Pietro Bonanno and Serra Falk Goldman, business angels who are among the founders of “The 20 Fund”, a venture capital firm committed to gender parity. The fund’s aim is to invest in Italian, female-run, early-stage startups, with a strong vocation for sustainability.

“We are continually impressed by the co-founders, Elena Ferrero and Sara Secondo,” said Serra Falk Goldman. “Their intelligence, dedication and perseverance will contribute to the success of Atelier Riforma and dramatically reduce waste in the fashion industry. No doubt they and Atelier Riforma will have a positive impact on the environment.”

On 12th September, Bonanno and Falk Goldman finalised their own private investment in Atelier Riforma with the aim of developing the Re4Circular project to attract even more substantial investment from the fund in the coming months.

Then, on 15th September, Re4Circular was one of four projects to win the “Welfare che Impresa!” award, a national competition that is promoted by the Accenture Italian Foundation. The competition rewards “projects capable of combining economy and society, to promote a new vision of development.”

Atelier Riforma will be back at the Green Alley Award next April to take part in a special talk with fellow former finalists, Mimica and Kleiderly.

Startups that want to emulate Atelier Riforma’s success can apply for next year’s Green Alley Award here.