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

1642073358 MycoWorks making leather from fungi closes 125M to scale

MycoWorks, a company that makes leather-based fungus-based biomaterials, has launched a new funding round - $ 125 million in Series C funding - to fund a production facility to scale up the manufacturing of its flagship Reishi products.

CEO Matt Scullin says his company's clothing is different from its competitors, touching on the company's Fine Mycelium process as a “biotechnology platform that inventing mycelium to grow the same made-to-order luxury material. . ”

"There's a lot going on in this area," he said. "Mycelium is a tunable material, and many people enter the area because they see an opportunity for it. However, their main approach is to take fiber and insert it into plastic, which results in a low quality material such as pleather. '

In fact, the California-based company, founded in 2013 by Philip Ross and Sophia Wang, is among a hot trend of companies that work with fungi and other plant-based products to make clothing for fashion. When we previously reported on MycoWorks in 2022 for its $ 45 million increase, we identified companies such as Bolt Threads (mushrooms), Ananas Anam (pineapple fiber) and Desserto (cactus leather) doing similar things. .

In addition to using plant - based products for fashion, other companies are thriving with fungus - based technology. Nature's Fynd, which raised $ 350 million in the C21 series in 2022, created Fy, a vegan protein that can be used as a solid, liquid or powder to make sustainable foods, such as meat and cheese. Atlast Food does something similar, making other meats from mycelium gourmet mushrooms. At the same time, MycoTechnology, which uses a copying process to make - among other things - a mushroom extract that suppresses the unwanted flavors of other foods, closed a Series D round of more than $ 120 million. in 2022.

At the same time, Series C was led by Prime Movers Lab, with the participation of new investors, notably SK Capital Partners, Mirabaud Lifestyle Impact and Innovation Fund, which came together with a group of other new and existing investors. To date, the company has raised a total of $ 187 million.

MycoWorks launched their first partnership with Hermès in early 2022 and now has contracts with a range of leading global luxury brands. Scullin told me that if you've heard of a luxury brand, the company may be partnering with them.

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Despite initially operating in the luxury space, MycoWorks is also aiming to move toward large-scale production that would allow yields at a range of price points. The funding will enable the company to do this, Scullin said.

Blue rack accessories of MycoWorks fungi. Image Credit: Lindsey Filowitz

The company 's new production facility will be built in Union, SC and will follow a successful pilot plant in Emeryville, California. That's where MycoWorks was able to validate the tray - based process and demonstrate the scalability of the Fine Mycelium process when it met a production milestone of 10,000 processed trays. Scullin expects the plant to be operational in the next 12 months and will initially be able to produce several million square feet of Fine Mycelium each year.

To meet the demand for sustainable, customer-led products, Scullin also plans to invest the funding to expand its team, R&D and technology development. The company received thousands of applications from brands to be selected as the first to use Fine Mycelium.

It estimates that $ 150 billion worth of leather products are sold each year, which means that the opportunity is huge, especially as that consumer tail is still one of the "most powerful forces in the economy. -currently, "he said.

When they selected Prime Movers Lab and others to invest in the tour, Scullin said they all had a common knowledge in biotechnology and manufacturing scale, which the company currently needed.

"What MycoWorks has achieved is not just an achievement with its Fine Mycelium platform, it is a revolution for businesses that are ready to change," said David Siminoff, general partner at Prime Movers Lab, in a written statement, said: "This opportunity is huge and we believe MycoWorks is going to be the backbone of the revolution of new products in unparalleled product quality coupled with a scalable proprietary manufacturing process."

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