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April 1, 2021

Ecovative raises $60m to scale mycelium materials

Materials science company Ecovative has raised another $60m in funding to grow mycelium based materials better and faster, in key markets, at industrial scale.

By Leonie Barrie

Materials science company Ecovative has raised another $60m in funding to grow mycelium based materials better and faster, in key markets, at industrial scale. 

The Series D round brings the total capital raised by the New York based company to $100m, and was led by Viking Global Investors, with support from Senator Investment Group, AiiM Partners, Trousdale Ventures and others.

Ecovative has more than a decade of experience producing materials based on mycelium – the root structure of mushrooms – for the textile, food and packaging industries.

Mycelium has a unique biology that can be leveraged to grow materials that self-assemble into complex, fully-formed structures. Materials include Mycoflex, a high-performance foam with applications in fashion, footwear, accessories, outerwear and lingerie that is sourced from agricultural waste streams, does not involve the use of any harmful chemistry, and is biodegradable. 

The new funding will support its next-generation Mycelium Foundry and a ten-fold boost in production, the company says.

“Mycelium is a unique material that outperforms other sustainable alternatives in industries as diverse as fashion and food,” says Evan Lodes, partner at Senator Investment Group and Ecovative board member.  “Ecovative pioneered the field of mycelium materials, and has invested in the research and development necessary to deliver it at the scale and cost required to make a significant impact.” 

Katrin Ley, managing director of Fashion For Good, which signed Ecovative to its Scaling Programme in 2018, adds: “The demand for new biomaterials in the fashion industry, such as mycelium, far outstrips the current supply. Ecovative is tackling this challenge head-on, committing to building a next-generation platform capable of producing mycelium at scale.” 

Finding high-performance biomaterials that can be produced at industrial scale remains a challenge, according to a report co-authored by Biofabricate and Fashion for Good.

Through its AirMycelium manufacturing platform, Ecovative recently activated 100,000 pounds per year of new manufacturing capacity to support growing demand from partners, ranging from packaging suppliers to tanneries, for custom mycelium solutions.

Luxury brand Stella McCartney recently unveiled the first garments made with the new Mylo bio-engineered leather developed by Bolt Threads. While US start-up MycoWorks last year secured US$45m in Series B funding to scale production of its Reishi mycelium-based vegan leather. And eco-friendly leather producer ISA TanTec launched a division specialising in the development of new sustainable products – including materials based on mushroom, mycelium and other plant based sources.

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