The sustainable materials science startup is bringing fungus front and center in design, food, and fashion.
Ecovative Design, a New York-based materials science startup, has raised $60 million in a Series D funding round. It’s now raised more than $100 million to date.
The funding was led by Viking Global Investors, Senator Investment Group, AiiM Partners, Trousdale Ventures, among others.
“Today’s investment in our next-generation Mycelium Foundry will produce immediate results for our business and the planet,” founder and CEO Eben Bayer said. “We have a track record of scaling and shipping mycelium-based products. This growth will accelerate our deployment of these important solutions at greater scale and across more industries.”
Ecovative has used mycelium, the threaded mushroom-producing fungal fibers, to create alternatives to traditional foam packaging, furniture, leather, and bacon. The new funding will go to further support production and scale offerings. Spin-off brand Atlast, which makes mushroom bacon, is working on new products.
Ecovative is also focused on disrupting the fashion industry after a failed partnership with Bolt Threads in 2018 that led the company to refocus its efforts on making its own products. These are part of the plans for the future, like the Atlast label. But Bayer is also focused on becoming a white-label provider, working with innovators in their respective fields through exclusive partnerships.
“It seems like there’s a need for somebody who could not be a branded supplier, but to be someone who can provide scalable mushroom leather,” said Bayer.
The Mushroom Boom
The demand is certainly there: Luxury fashion house Hermès recently introduced mushroom leather to its line. Stella McCartney has also embraced the fungus with couture custom mushroom leather pants and a bustier. Adidas is working with the material, too, as part of its bold sustainability initiatives.
“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,” Katrin Ley, Managing Director of Fashion For Good, said in a statement.
Ecovative is no stranger to partnerships. Its success has been built on relationships with companies including Dell and IKEA, which use the company’s mushroom packaging as a sustainable alternative to traditional packaging materials.
Mushrooms are indeed having a moment. From food to medicine to fashion, the global mushroom market is expected to surpass $86 billion by 2025.