New funding will help scale production of Reishi, the first non-plastic, non-animal material that performs like leather
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — MycoWorks, creator of Reishi™, the sustainable, fine mycelium “leather,” today announced $17 million in Series A financing raised during 2019 to deliver commercially viable non-plastic, non-animal materials to the market. DCVC Bio led the round, with major participation from Novo Holdings and 8VC, as well as Future Tech Labs, AgFunder, Susa Ventures, Cthulhu Ventures, and Wireframe Ventures.
Without compromising on performance, quality or aesthetics, the company’s revolutionary Reishi material is already used by multiple European luxury and footwear brands as a commercially viable natural, sustainable option for leather.
Animal leathers are synonymous with luxury and quality and, together with plastic leather alternatives, comprise a nearly $80 billion global market as a staple of fashion and many other industries. Evolving consumer tastes have not been met with any new natural materials that achieve the quality standards of the luxury industry. Existing “vegan leathers,” all made from plastic, are damaging to the environment and fail to meet performance or aesthetic standards. In the recently released State of Fashion report from McKinsey, 66 percent of survey respondents, and 75 percent of millennial respondents, said they consider sustainability when making a luxury purchase. For global luxury brands, continuing to manufacture goods without an environmentally friendly option is quickly becoming untenable.
Reishi by MycoWorks is an entirely new option for leather made from the company’s Fine Mycelium™ technology. A proprietary woven cellular microstructure which emulates the collagen structure in animal leathers, Reishi Fine Mycelium provides brands with the same performance, quality and aesthetics as leather, without the use of animals or plastic’s harmful impact on the environment. Furthermore, Reishi’s customizability opens up avenues for product design that are not possible with animal hides.
“Just as alternatives to meat have recently taken the food industry by storm, consumers are also looking for natural, non-animal materials to wear. With its incredible aesthetics, feel and performance, Reishi is the result of an entirely new and scalable manufacturing process that fills a clear need in the market,” said Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks. “As a natural material we’ve harnessed as an incredibly strong skin, Reishi is the only material that can meet the quality standards of animal leathers. We’re excited to continue to grow our operations to meet demand from our brand partners.”
The new funding will enable MycoWorks to continue to scale its manufacturing operations to meet enormous existing and growing demand in the market for its Reishi material. The company currently operates two production facilities and is about to open a third commercial plant with a production capacity of 80,000 square feet of material per year to support the launch of products which have been prototyped and tested with major luxury customers for more than 18 months.
“MycoWorks meets the aspirations of luxury leather and meets the criteria for the new green economy,” said Kiersten Stead, Managing Partner, DCVC Bio. “Large global luxury brands are lining up to bring Reishi products to market.”
Reishi Fine Mycelium eliminates the need for expensive biological incubators, opening up a clear path to profitability for MycoWorks. The patented technology behind the manufacturing process enhances the naturally interwoven threads of mycelium to deliver a versatile material that provides unmatched strength, durability and feel.
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About DCVC Bio
DCVC Bio is a computationally focused life sciences venture capital fund within DCVC (Data Collective), a leading Silicon Valley AI and deep tech venture capital fund. DCVC Bio invests in creative entrepreneurs building computationally advantaged life science companies with discovery and development technology platforms that can dramatically accelerate life science product discovery within healthcare, food and agriculture.