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Kering Backs Biomaterials Company Mogu in $12 Million Funding Round

The French luxury group has already experimented with the start-up’s mushroom-derived leather alternative, releasing a Balenciaga coat made from the material in 2022.
A person wearing a Mogu branded T-shirts put white gloved hands in a tray of of mycelium.
Kering is amongst the company's backing mycelium material start-up Mogu in its Series A. (Mogu)

French luxury group Kering’s venture investment arm has joined Italian biomaterials start-up Mogu’s latest funding round. The €11 million ($12 million) series A was led by CDP Venture Capital and the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund. The size of Kering’s investment was not disclosed.

The funding round comes on the heels of a challenging year for material innovation. A gloomy economic outlook and rising interest rates has made fundraising more challenging, while a number of high profile start-ups targeting the fashion sector have floundered.

Kering has already worked with Mogu’s mushroom-derived leather alternative. In 2022, Kering-owned Balenciaga released a highly limited run of coats made from the mycelium material.

Mogu, which is planning to change its name to Sqim following the investment, will use the funds to build a demo plant and boost R&D for its mycelium-based products.

Learn more:

What’s Blocking the Rise of More Sustainable Materials?

Weaker-than-expected demand for Swedish textile recycler Renewcell’s first commercial volumes of recycled cellulose pulp has sent the company’s stock price plummeting and highlighted broader hurdles challenging efforts to lessen fashion’s environmental footprint.

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