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Financing Difficulty Suspends Production of Mylo

Kylie Jones

Jul 9, 2023

The suspension of Mylo production has affected several fashion companies.

It is reported that Bolt Threads, an American biological start-up company, has stopped the production of Mylo, a leather-like material, while British designer brand Stella McCartney, French luxury goods giant Kering, German sporting goods Giant Adidas, and Canadian yoga clothing brand Lululemon are using this material.

Mylo is a soft, strong, renewable leather-like material that looks and feels like real leather but is made in the lab from mycelium material from the roots of wild mushrooms. The mycelium growth process of Mylo raw material is fast and efficient, and it can be grown in two weeks, so it emits less greenhouse gases, requires less water and other resources than animal leather production, and has a smaller environmental impact.

Bolt Threads chief executive Dan Widmaier said Mylo had been "very close" to commercial scale since it launched in 2018, but inflation and fewer funding opportunities against the backdrop of a weak economy had derailed it.

Although Bolt Threads has received a total investment of up to $300 million so far, it has not been able to obtain the funds needed to take the Mylo material to the next stage. The latest round of financing comes from Tsuchiya Kaban, a Japanese handmade leather goods manufacturer. The financing amount has not yet been disclosed.

Dan Widmaier said in an interview with the media that Mylo has been "paused" in order to "re-evaluate what is working and what will work in the future."

While the fashion industry is increasingly turning to leather alternatives made from a variety of materials, the CEO said the alternatives are still struggling to attract enough capital for mass production, and investor attention has shifted. To new fields, such as this year's "big event - artificial intelligence".

In addition, in the field of leather alternative materials, more and more competitors are pouring in, such as:

In June of this year, Arda Biomaterials, a biomaterials company that uses waste from beer production to develop leather, completed a total financing of 1.1 million pounds, led by the Clean Growth Fund, a British venture capital fund focused on clean technology.

Last May, California-based biotech company VitroLabs raised a total of $46 million in Series A funding to scale up the company and begin pilot production of cell-grown leather this spring. Investors include Kering, Danish fashion group Bestseller, and actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio.

At the end of last year, ECCO Leather, a leather manufacturer for the Danish shoe brand ECCO, also announced the establishment of a sustainable development partnership with Ecovative Design LLC, an American biomaterials company, to use Ecovative as its own custom-developed mycelium. Materials are applied to new products and supplied to partners in a cooperative network.

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