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January 20, 2022

MycoWorks to launch full-scale Mycelium plant on $125m funding

US start-up MycoWorks has secured US$125m in Series C funding to launch the first full-scale Fine Mycelium production plant.

By Beth Wright

MycoWorks says its patented Fine Mycelium process produces natural material with the performance of the finest animal leathers and lower environmental impact.

The San Francisco-based company adds it is a proprietary biotechnology platform that engineers mycelium to grow the only made-to-order, made-to-specification luxury material. The process also unlocks new design possibilities for fashion and luxury brands, while its predictable, scalable tray-based process offers much-needed relief to supply chain constraints, it says.

It’s latest funding round was led by Prime Movers Lab, with participation from new investors SK Networks and Mirabaud Lifestyle Impact & Innovation Fund, in addition to other new and existing investors including DCVC Bio, and Novo Holdings.

The Series C funding will be used to launch the first full-scale Fine Mycelium production plant to meet the growing demand for the company’s materials, including MycoWorks’ flagship product, “vegan leather” Reishi.

Based in Union County, South Carolina, the new facility is modeled after the company’s semi-automated Emeryville pilot plant that successfully demonstrates the scalability of the Fine Mycelium process. In operation for one year, the pilot plant demonstrates high production yields, meeting target costs, and bringing MycoWorks through its latest production milestone of 10,000 trays processed. The new facility, slated to be operational in a year, will enable initial mass-production volumes of several million square feet of Fine Mycelium materials per year.

The financing will also support the expansion of the company’s fast-growing team as well as continued research, development, and innovation to advance the Fine Mycelium platform.

“We are thrilled to partner with new and returning investors who have deep experience in manufacturing scale-up. MycoWorks’ Fine Mycelium platform produces the world’s highest-quality, leather-like material via a proprietary process that we own and operate,” says Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks. “As the only vertically-integrated biomaterials company in the new materials space, we will use this new capital to continue growing our leadership position.”

David Siminoff, general partner at Prime Movers Lab, adds: “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. 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.”

Using its highly controlled, tray-based system, Fine Mycelium engineers mycelium as it grows to exact specifications to create perfectly uniform, high-quality sheets at scale. Vertically integrated, Fine Mycelium can also transform brands’ supply chains with increased traceability, minimised waste and post processing, and a greatly enhanced sustainability profile,  according to MycoWorks.

The company announced its first partnership with Hermès in spring 2021 and has contracts in place with a range of major global luxury brands. MycoWorks says it is progressing towards entering the market at a range of price points as it moves into mass-scale production.

Its Series C funding follows a Series B round in November 2020 which MycoWorks  said at time would allow it to scale production of Reishi.

 

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