June 7, 2023
From Vegconomist

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New York-based Ecovative Design LLC, the global leader in mycelium technology, announces the initial closing of a Series E funding round, surpassing $30 million. The funds will enable Ecovative to realize its ambitions of expanding its Forager business into a premier provider of sustainable textile and foam products worldwide. 

Viking Global Investors spearheaded the round, joined by investors such as Standard Investments, Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures, and AiiM Partners. With the fresh capital, Ecovative has now accumulated a total of $120 million in funding to date.

Half of the investment, $15 million, will be reinvested into its food subsidiary, MyForest Foods Co., which was established in 2020. The funds allocated to MyForest Foods, whose flagship product is mycelium bacon product MyBacon, will facilitate its retail growth and extend its presence across the Eastern Seaboard.

MyBacon Breakfast Bacon and Eggs
MyBacon © MyForest Foods / Ecovative

Masters of mycelium

Sixteen years ago, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, both students at the time, pioneered the creation of mycelium materials. Their groundbreaking work laid the foundation for the establishment of Ecovative, the first company to introduce mycelium materials as a viable commercial category. Since then, Ecovative has remained at the forefront of advancing and scaling up mycelium technologies across various industries, including fashion and apparel, food, packaging, and construction.

In the past year, Ecovative has achieved significant milestones in the expansion of sustainable mycelium technologies:

  • Commenced the construction of new manufacturing facilities spanning an impressive 120,000 square feet. These facilities are dedicated to the production of mycelium-based bacon, textiles, and foams.
  • Successfully built and transferred operations of the world’s largest AirMycelium™ farm. This state-of-the-art facility is designed to cultivate mycelium at an unprecedented scale.
  • Formed strategic product development partnerships with over 15 prominent global brands in the fashion and footwear industry. These collaborations enable the integration of mycelium materials into innovative and sustainable product lines.
Ecovative chair
© Ecovative Design
  • Completed the acquisition of a cutting-edge raw materials facility located in the Netherlands. This facility enhances Ecovative’s capabilities in sourcing high-quality materials for its mycelium-based products.
  • Implemented AirMycelium™ technology within an existing mushroom farm, further expanding their production capacity and advancing the cultivation of mycelium on a larger scale.
  • Significantly increased production capacity for Mushroom® Packaging with the addition of 20,000 square feet of dedicated manufacturing space. This expansion supports the growing demand for environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

At the core of Ecovative’s Mycelium Foundry lies the remarkable capability to cultivate tailor-made mycelium materials on a large scale.  Ecovative collaborates with around 15 brands and manufacturers, encompassing a diverse range of industries, including include ECCO Leather, Vivobarefoot, Wolverine Worldwide, BESTSELLER, Pangaia, and PVH Corp.

Ecovative packaging
© Ecovative Design

“We’re proud of our team, and the immense progress they have made in a short time, rising to the occasion to bring mycelium technology to scale. Our goal is to hack capitalism to support Spaceship Earth: building factories that produce clean air, clean water, and healthy soil, while growing delightful materials that meet everyday needs and produce extraordinary profits,” comments Eben Bayer.

“Our goal is to hack capitalism to support Spaceship Earth”

“It’s amazing what mushrooms can do. Ecovative has shown mycelium’s potential across industries, demonstrated product-market fits that are already addressing the needs of the Earth. And this is just the beginning, with huge addressable markets and the potential to make real, lasting change for circular manufacturing,” states Jon Schulhof, Managing Partner at Footprint Coalition Ventures.

Here you can read a recent Op Ed from Eben Bayer regarding the future of plant-based meat. Eben believes that, “in fact, history promises that we’re just getting started.”

Source: Vegconomist.com