Dan Widmaier Explains Why the Future of Fabrics Is Spider Silk

Speaking at the 2017 Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris, Widmaier explains how the company’s synthetic biology platform can take a material found in nature, fine-tune it with properties that consumers demand, and produce it at scale. 

Dan Widmaier cofounded Bolt Threads with a clear vision: transforming a $4 trillion market by developing revolutionary new fabrics. The company is selling material made from bioengineered spider silk, a biodegradable fabric that is, pound for pound, stronger than steel and six times tougher than Kevlar. There is growing demand for such eco-friendly material as concerns mount over the environmental impact of many of today’s fabrics. Among those issues: polyester microfibers (with a half-life of 200 years) from clothing migrate from the washing machine to the ocean—and into the fish on our dining table.

Hello Tomorrow is an international nonprofit initiative that promotes early-stage deep-technology startups that aim to solve some of the world’s biggest industrial and societal challenges. BCG and Hello Tomorrow have partnered to study the critical role of large companies in the broad ecosystem that supports deep-tech startups, including how those big players can partner with startups to develop unique, proprietary, and hard-to-reproduce advances in technology and science.

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