Gore Innovation Center and Checkerspot Collaborate on High Performance Textiles

Silicon Valley-based Gore Innovation Center announces collaboration with materials startup Checkerspot

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (November 19, 2019) – W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) today announced a collaboration with Checkerspot, bringing together Checkerspot's expertise in bio-based polymers and biotechnology with Gore's decades of experience in high performance apparel. Together, they will explore innovative performance materials development with the goal of delivering high performance textile coatings with improved environmental profiles.

Checkerspot's team leverages biotechnology and industrial fermentation processes to deliver unique materials not previously accessible at commercial scale. The company, headquartered in Berkeley, CA, unlocks and expands nature's molecular palette of novel building blocks to produce new materials with superior performance characteristics.

"The Gore Innovation Center is proud to contribute to Gore's efforts to apply material science and engineering expertise to improve the environmental profile of outdoor apparel," said Linda Elkins, leader, Gore Innovation Center. "We are excited to forge a relationship with Checkerspot and look forward to exploring opportunities with other like-minded organizations in the future."

This collaboration will also include expertise from Beyond Surface Technologies (BST), a Swiss company whose mission is to create textile finishes with the lowest environmental impact, causing no unnecessary harm without compromising on performance. BST is currently developing renewable plant-based finishes as alternatives to conventional perfluorinated compounds (PFC) and is a partner of Checkerspot.

In 2017, Gore announced the ambitious goal of eliminating PFCs of environmental concern from the lifecycle of its consumer fabrics products. In early 2018, Gore reached its first key milestone on this roadmap by introducing the first GORE-TEX laminates with a new durable water repellency (DWR) treatment free of PFCs of environmental concern for general outdoor use. Gore's deep understanding of outdoor enthusiasts and industry needs drives development of materials with meaningful performance advantages, from hiking in downpours to protecting first responders.

"We continuously strive to optimize the combination of performance and sustainability credentials within our fabrics products. Targeting specific use cases and applications, we design, prototype and test new materials with Gore's state-of-the-art facilities while leveraging the expertise and capabilities of our fabrics organization," said Mike Magyar, technical scout, Gore Innovation Center. "Our material science expertise and decades of industry experience help pioneering startups like Checkerspot turn concepts into realities and achieve mutually beneficial goals."

"By engaging directly with product developers and collaborating with socially responsible partners, we are able to design and bring to market superior products with better, more sustainable materials," said Charles Dimmler, CEO, Checkerspot. "We are excited about this collaboration. Our goal is to commercialize best-in-class performance materials developed with sustainability as a key consideration and promote similar change across industries beyond apparel."

About Checkerspot

Checkerspot designs performance materials at a molecular level. It does this by optimizing microbes to biomanufacture unique structural oils produced in nature, but not previously accessible at commercial scale. Checkerspot's first materials are next generation polyurethanes and textile finishes designed to improve the performance of consumer products. The company is currently commercializing a performance composite engineered into skis and sold through the brand WNDR Alpine (https://wndr-alpine.com), as well as algal oil formulated into miDori® BioWick and sold in partnership with Beyond Surface Technologies. Checkerspot's mission is to expand the palette of molecular building blocks for high performance and sustainable materials. https://checkerspot.com/

About Gore Innovation Center

The Gore Innovation Center is an 11,000 square feet co-innovation space and lab. Startups, researchers, corporations and customers can collaborate with Gore innovators on difficult advanced materials challenges in Medical, Fabrics, Automotive, Aerospace, Industrial, Electronics, and Digital Health applications to create new business opportunities and value for all partners. For more information regarding the Gore Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, visit gore.com/innovation-center. Startups can contact Gore here to start working together today.

About Gore

W. L. Gore & Associates is a global materials science company dedicated to transforming industries and improving lives. Since 1958, Gore has solved complex technical challenges in demanding environments — from outer space to the world's highest peaks to the inner workings of the human body. With more than 10,500 Associates and a strong, team-oriented culture, Gore generates annual revenues of $3.7 billion.

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Ashley Nakano
Sterling Communications for Gore Innovation Center
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