The new leadership and cash infusion are intended to help bring the company’s “biofabrication” technology, which can replace fossil fuel-based textile coatings and enhance the performance of natural materials, to commercial scale for the first time.
Modern Meadow is primarily known for its lab-grown leather, an area of innovation that has attracted mounting interest from fashion brands looking to curb their environmental impact but also struggled to produce commercial-scale technology.
“We’re far enough along in the development of the technology, in the process engineering,” said Bakst. “We’re ready now.” The company said it would announce a coalition of fashion brands and industry partners within the next six to nine months.
While the main focus will be on scaling its coating treatment, some of the company’s funding will also go towards research and development of lab-grown materials and biotechnology.
Bakst, an industry veteran who chairs Modern Meadow’s board and has held executive roles at Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Donna Karan, succeeds co-founder Andras Forgacs, who has served as the company’s CEO since its inception in 2011. Forgacs will stay on as a board member.
The funding round was led by Key Partners Capital with participation from Astanor Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Cape Capital, bringing Modern Meadow’s total funding to $184 million. (The company declined to disclose its valuation.)