Biotechnology innovator MycoWorks — known in the fashion world for its “Reishi” material and collaborations with Hermès — announced $125 million in Series C financing Thursday.
Investors include Prime Movers Lab, SK Networks, Mirabaud Lifestyle Impact and Innovation Fund, in addition to other new and existing investors with track records in the biotech space. The funding will go toward the scale out of the firm’s production plant in Union, South Carolina to meet growing demand for its coveted material alternatives.
“What MycoWorks has achieved with its Fine Mycelium platform is not just a breakthrough, it is a revolution for industries that are ripe for change,” said David Siminoff, general partner at Prime Movers Lab. “This opportunity is massive and we believe that unrivaled product quality combined with a proprietary scalable manufacturing process has MycoWorks poised to serve as the backbone of the new materials revolution.”
MycoWorks’ Reishi is a non-plastic, non-animal leather alternative that is grown rapidly from mycelium (mushroom cells) and agricultural byproducts in a carbon-negative process.
While MycoWorks pilot facilities (like its Emeryville plant) today boast a 10,000 tray capacity, the new facility will enable initial mass-production volumes of several million square feet of Fine Mycelium annually. The S.C. plant is slated to open in a year and will bring roughly 400 job openings across roles in production, operations and engineering.
Matt Scullin, chief executive officer of MycoWorks, spoke of the $150 billion opportunity in bio-materials to WWD, describing a mission to deliver the apparel industry “the supply chain they need for the next 30 years of growth.”
“I think we are at the forefront of a new materials revolution — and MycoWorks and our partners are going to lead the way,” he said. “I think brands recognize the superior quality that we’ve been able to achieve really means that they can think in different ways in terms of how to structure their supply chains and how they’re going to address this huge sustainability problem that needs to be addressed.”
He teased a “list of [the] who’s who in luxury” lining up to be “selected as the first customers” for MycoWorks’ innovations, adding that existing relationships are only deepening.
Perhaps most known is MycoWorks’ partnership with Hermès, which was announced in March 2021. Hermès touted its plant-based version of its Victoria Bag, which will be rendered in its own material, dubbed “Sylvania,” in 2022. On top of that, the former CEO of Hermès, Patrick Thomas joined the MycoWorks board last year.
To the developments, Scullin expressed excitement to have product on shelves in 2022, adding that a range of luxury and mass market players will enable Fine Mycelium tech at a “range of price points.”
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