Textile production is a trillion-dollar industry, and still mostly managed offline without much modern digitalization – until now. Tengiva (Textiles Exchange Network) was created to solve some of the biggest industry challenges, which for emerging clothing designers is the ability to source materials quickly, cost effectively, and sustainably. On May 4, 2022, Tengiva, the first digital supply chain platform for the textile industry, announced that it has raised CAD$4.95 million (€ 3,66 million) in seed funding.
What is Tengiva? What is sustainable about it?
Tengiva is a digital supply chain management platform that provides textile factories around the globe with a clear view of their products and their inventory and makes them instantly available for online trading.
Tengiva’s sustainability mission is separated into three pillars: Facilitate transparency; increase resource efficiency; and promote better practices.
Can you tell us something about the idea behind the founding of Tengiva? How did it come about?
Me, Annie Cyr, CEO and co-founder, worked in the apparel and textile industry for 15 years when I noticed these repetitive processes that required a lot of back-office work to source and distribute just one product. Along with my co-founder Carlos Agudelo, who has an extensive background in industrial scale textile production and R&D, we developed a platform that not only optimizes, but also automates most of these processes. The result is a streamlined process that, instead of taking months, now happens instantly, from the discovery of a product to the customs declaration.
Who can join Tengiva. What is the intended target group?
Tengiva is open to everyone in the textile and apparel industry. It features a variety of solutions that can help them all, even sales representatives who are essential to this industry. However, for the next 12 months, our primary focus will be primarily on emerging apparel brands (< $10 million in turnover). This audience is the fastest growing group and the least served because their volumes are just below production orders and too high for most other distribution channels, but they are also digital native. Our secondary focus will be on textile factories that recognize that technologies and digitalization can be an asset to help them take their operations to the next level. Our technology specializes in the digitization of the textile industry distribution processes and our team accompanies them every step of the way.
What could a sustainable textile and apparel industry look like in the future?
There is not one correct answer. Depending on the angle we look at (CO2 emissions, end-of-lifecycle, water consumption, social engagement) different materials have different advantages. For example, in a world where the depolymerization process would be more easily accessible in a textile end-of-lifecycle stage, polyester could mean an “infinite fiber” because you can recycle it infinitely and into an even better quality by-product. While, on a completely different angle, companies worldwide work everyday to improve transformation processes for cotton, hemp, viscose, and wool to reduce their impact on the environment.
In short, I believe it’s about continuous improvement at every level that will make the whole industry better. And Tengiva’s role in it, is to give data, comparables, resources, and solution paths to help the industry navigate through this abundance of information.
How can these goals be achieved? Should individual stakeholders work more closely together? Also, what role can the consumer play?
Absolutely, the key is working closely together. There is a long established protectionist culture in the textile industry, which is understandable with its history. But like everything else in life, it is possible to find a way for knowledge to become universal while still protecting the individuality and competitive advantage of everyone. This is one of the main objectives of Tengiva, i.e., building a central database of anonymized information that can help the common good of the whole industry.
The role of the consumer is to keep asking and pushing for better. Developing a complete supply chain innovation can take from 5 to 10 years until it reaches the consumer, but if they keep demanding those products, it helps substantially from the perspective of innovators who put everything into making the industry and its products better.