MycoWorks, making leather from fungi, closes $125M to scale production – TechCrunch

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MycoWorksA company that manufactures fungal-based biomaterials that can replace leather raises new funding to fund a production plant to expand the production of its flagship product, Reishi. Brought ($ 125 million in Series C funding).

CEO Matt Scullin said what his company does with fabrics is different from its competitors, and describes the company’s Fine Mycelium process as “the only luxury material designed, tailor-made and tailored to mycelium. Is a biotechnology platform that grows. ” .. “

“A lot is happening in this space,” he added. “Mycelium is an adjustable material and many people are entering this space because they see the opportunity. But their main approach is to take the fibers and embed them in plastic. The result is a low quality material such as “artificial leather”. “

In fact, the California-based company founded by Philip Ross and Sophia Wang in 2013 has attracted the attention of companies that manufacture fashion fabrics using fungal and other plant-based materials.before Create a MycoWorks profile with $ 45 million in funding in 2020, Bolt Threads (mushrooms), Ananas Anam (pineapple fiber), Desserto (cactus leather) and other companies have pointed out that they are doing the same.

In addition to using plant-based materials for fashion, other companies have been successful with fungal-based technology. Raised $ 350 million in a Series C round in 2021, Nature’s Find creates Fy, a vegan protein that can be used as a solid, liquid, or powder to make sustainable foods such as meat and cheese. did. Atlast Food does the same, making meat substitutes from gourmet mushroom mycelium. Meanwhile, Myco Technology, which uses a fermentation process to produce mushroom extracts that block unwanted flavors from other foods, ended in 2020 with a Series D round of over $ 120 million.

Meanwhile, Series C was led by Prime Movers Lab and joined a group of other new and existing investors with the participation of new investors, especially SK Capital Partners and Mirabaud Lifestyle Impact and Innovation Fund. To date, the company has raised a total of $ 187 million.

MycoWorks began its first partnership with Hermès in early 2021 and is currently in contract with a variety of major global luxury brands. Scullin told me that if it’s a luxury brand you’ve heard, the company is probably affiliated with them.

Despite the initial efforts in a luxurious space, MycoWorks is also aiming for mass production that can realize products in various price ranges. Funding will allow the company to do this, Skarin said.

Blue rack tray of MycoWorks fungi. Image credit: Lindsey Filowitz

The company’s new production plant will be built in Union, South Carolina, following a successful pilot plant in Emeryville, California. So MycoWorks was able to validate the tray-based process and demonstrate the scalability of the FineMycelium process when it reached the production milestone of processing 10,000 trays. Scullin expects the plant to be operational in the next 12 months and will initially be able to produce millions of square feet of micromycelium annually.

Scullin also plans to invest in team expansion, R & D and technology development to meet consumer-led demand for sustainable products. The company has received thousands of inbound requests from the brand to be selected to use Fine Mycelium first.

He estimates that $ 150 billion of leather goods are sold each year. This means great opportunities, especially as consumer tailwinds continue to be “one of the strongest forces in the economy today.”

When choosing Prime Movers Lab and other companies to invest in the round, Scullin said they all had common expertise in biotechnology and manufacturing scale-up.

“What MycoWorks has achieved with the FineMycelium platform is not just a breakthrough, but a revolution for an industry that is ripe for change,” said David Siminoff, general partner at Prime Movers Lab, in writing. “This opportunity is enormous and we are confident that by combining unmatched product quality with a unique scalable manufacturing process, MycoWorks is poised to serve as the backbone of the new material revolution.”

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