Natalie Portman and John Legend Invest in Vegan Leather Company MycoWorks
Natalie Portman and John Legend are stepping into the luxury vegan fashion space with their latest investment in MycoWorks, a biotech startup that developed a sustainable vegan leather brand made from fungus.
MycoWorks closed a $45 million Series B financing to grow the company and meet the demand for their innovative vegan leather. This vegan leather, called Reishi, is made out of mycelium and is the only non-animal, non-plastic material that performs similar to cowhide, according to MycoWorks. The reason this vegan leather is such a success is it is able to mimic the look, feel, and durability of real leather.
“At MycoWorks, we’ve created a biotech platform for the fashion and luxury industries that delivers the highest quality, most versatile natural materials on Earth. 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. Furthermore, we’re delighted to welcome Natalie Portman and John Legend, whose support for sustainable options in the fashion industry will only further our traction,” said MycoWorks CEO, Matt Scullin.
MycoWorks isn't Portman's first investment in a vegan business. This past summer, the vegan actress invested in Oatly alongside Oprah and Jay-Z. The celebrity-endorsed startup funding announcement came at an exciting time for the company who just opened a new Reishi™ production plant in Emeryville, California. This plant will help MycoWorks keep up with the growing demand for products and apparel.
“Our customers-- major global luxury and footwear brands-- require the utmost quality and performance in their finished goods. They recognize that Fine Mycelium™ is the key to achieving this along with unmatched product sustainability and versatility,” Scullin stated.
MycoWorks's success in building a functional and sustainable material comes after collaborating with luxury brands and understanding consumers' demand for eco-friendly materials. Another startup developing mushroom-based vegan leather is Bolt Threads, which just teamed up with big names Stella McCartney, Adidas, and Kering. Innovators such as MycoWorks and Bolt Threads will allow the fashion world to become more vegan-friendly, sustainable, and appeal to a wider base of customers.