Patagonia's in-house venture capital  fund has invested an undisclosed sum in a Swiss chemical company focused on producing high-performance textile treatments from natural materials.

Patagonia said it invested in Beyond Surface Technologies, which was founded in 2008 to find alternatives to the most toxic and persistent chemicals used on treat performance textiles.

“This is the tension we feel every day, making the best technical products for our core sports and working to fulfill our environmental commitments,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. “Beyond Surface Technologies has the potential to help Patagonia and our entire industry get to the next level of chemical safety without compromising performance, and we’re very excited to invest in their success.”

The investment comes through Patagonia’s $20 Million & Change fund, which launched in 2013 to help innovative, like-minded companies bring solutions to the environmental crisis and other positive change through business.

Adidas and Nike have also invested in startups in recent years in an effort to accelerate the development of greener textile technologies amid growing scrutiny by Greenpeace and other groups seeking to reduce the apparel industry's reliance  on toxic chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides, dyes and PFCs, which are widely used to enhance water repellency, breathability, stain resistance and other performance characteristics.

“Patagonia’s investment gives us the opportunity to accelerate testing and reduce time to market for our pipeline of groundbreaking new treatments for the entire apparel industry,” said Matthias Foessel, CEO of Beyond Surface Technologies. “Patagonia is enabling us to grow even faster – benefiting the environment and enhancing product performance – while remaining completely independent and in control of the original founders. This is truly unique.”

Patagonia plans to share any breakthroughs Beyond Surface Technologies may produce with the entire outdoor industry in order to amplify the environmental impact to the greatest extent possible.  

Patagonia has received interest from more than 600 companies who share similar business and environmental missions, and invested in 10 companies to date, including Bureo Skateboards, Kina’Ole Solar, CO2 Nexus, Yerdle and California Safe Soil, among others.