Leather Made From Mycelium

Mushrooms might be used as leather. (Image: MycoWorks)
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MycoWorks, a startup creating materials at the intersection of art, nature and biotechnology using mycelium, recently raised a $45M Series B. Their mission is to benefit the world with new materials that offer superior performance, unprecedented design possibilities and new paradigms for sustainability with their reishi mycelium (rather than leather).

Why does this matter?

  • 73% of the materials used globally to produce clothing are sent to landfil or burned at the end of their life. Additionally, less than 1% of old clothing goes on to be used to make new clothing.
  • Roughly $500B is lost every year from clothing not being worn and not recycled, and if nothing changes, the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. On top of that, washing clothes releases 500K tons of microplastic into the ocean every year.
  • 1.2B tons of greenhouse gas emissions are produced annually from textiles production, which is more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
  • A new textiles economy presents an opportunity to deliver substantially better economic, societal, and environmental outcomes.
  • Studies show that when plants partner with certain types of fungi, they can store up to 70% more carbon in the soil.
  • Durable clothing and accessories can be derived from fungi, which has a lower carbon footprint than traditional animal hides or plastics.
  • MycoWorks is uniquely positioned to meet the consumer demand for more sustainable, high performing materials.

What’s next?

  • Funds from the recent raise will be used for a new facility to meet the demand for Reishi materials. The new plant will increase production capacity by over 10x and will pave the way for additional plants.
  • Reishi is the first and currently only material to offer a sustainable solution for the fashion and footwear industries that does not compromise on performance, quality, or aesthetics.
  • Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks,states: “Our vision is to grow the future of materials. We have found partners in these investors who see the long-term potential for MycoWorks to transform many industries with our patented Fine Mycelium™ technology.”
  • Material innovation will continue to influence and impact the fashion industry, leading to a more eco-friendly and circular driven process.

Thoughts

Textiles and fashion are a fundamental part of life and an important sector globally. In the last 15 years, clothing production has approximately doubled by a growing middle-class population. The key to material innovation in the sector is making it accessible and affordable to everyone.

About The Author

Daniel Kriozere

Daniel Kriozere

Independent Contributor 

Daniel currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His original assignment was to maintain and update facility safety documentation for all facilities on-site, and perform risk analysis. Over time, his role has expanded to leading continuous improvement efforts through product management.

Concurrently, Daniel volunteers with Techstars, helping organize startup weekends, and with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, organizing events on the local and national levels of the organization. He also volunteers with One World, and previously with Powerhouse Ventures, to source and screen startups for potential investment.

Daniel holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis, and recently completed coursework in energy innovation from Stanford. His passion is at the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and business.

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