Biomaterials firm Mogu Srl has raised 11 million euros, or approximately $12 million, in Series A funding, according to a Tuesday press release from Kering, which is one of its backers.
The Italy-based firm produces mycelium-based products and plans to use the funding to launch a demo production plant, expand its team and ramp up research and development, per the release shared with Fashion Dive.
The company, also “already globally known as Sqim,” will formally rebrand under the Sqim name within a “few weeks following the closing date,” per the release.
Sqim said it uses a proprietary fermentation process to grow raw mycelium materials and develop and produce products for the textile, leather, interior and automotive industries. Its Mogu brand targets interior design and architecture sectors, while its Ephea vertical is dedicated to fashion and automotive. It hopes to introduce new commercial products and partnerships as well, per the release, “to incrementally impact the material innovation industry around the world and meet the burgeoning demand for quality-driven mycelium-based products” and serve what it says is “an ever-more expanded customer base.”
"This successful fundraise is a validation of the potential of our breakthrough technologies and next-gen materials and products,” Maurizio Montalti, chief mycelium officer and co-founder of Sqim, said in the release.
He added that the investment would “allow for the most effective market penetration of positively disrupting materials and products in Fashion, Interior, Automotive, and many more industries, to create positive impact, while contributing to shaping a more ethically and ecologically responsible industry.”
The funding round was led by CDP Venture Capital and co-led by ECBF VC, and included “participation from Kering Ventures and from the existing shareholder Progress Tech Transfer,” who have taken equity stakes, per the release.
“Innovation plays an essential role within our Kering sustainability strategy,” Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer, said in the release. “Today, we are proud to be part of this fundraising, as we strongly believe alternative materials are part of the solutions to reach our environmental goals.”
Kering, which manages fashion houses including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, posted a 13% revenue drop in Q3 amid an overall softening in the luxury industry. Kering Ventures is the Kering Group’s investment arm, which is tasked with acquiring minority holdings in startups.
Leather alternative manufacturers including Gozen, Bolt and MycoWorks have been increasing their presence in the consumer goods sector as biomaterials become more widely sought-after for their sustainability claims.
MycoWorks, which produces a mushroom bio-textile called Reishi, announced Tuesday that it had signed a deal with luxury furniture firm Ligne Roset “to procure a significant portion of the production capacity” for its material. A full-scale 136,000 square foot MycoWorks plant opened in the U.S. in 2023 and allows the company to grow “millions of square feet of the company’s leather alternative” each year.