New York-based startup Bucha Bio has this week (18 October) raised $550,000 in funding for its bio-textile product Mirai. The firm has said it will use the new funding to scale up and accelerate production of its product.
Investors of the latest funding round included New Climate Ventures, Beni Venture Capital, Lifely VC, QKZ Design, and MicroVentures.
The bio-textile group uses renewable bacterial nanocellulose to produce a novel organic kind of textile that they say has ‘advanced performance and luxuriously soft handfeel’. The production process involves fermenting the nanocellulose, with the resulting material blended with natural fibres to make what the group says is an ethical alternative to animal leather products including epoxy, vinyl and latex.
According to Bucha bio, the process is water and energy efficient, producing no greenhouse gases or harmful byproducts, and taking only a few weeks to create.
The group has its eye on expansion plans, with a new production facility planned in New York with an anticipated opening of December this year. The team is also working to bring their product to companies across the fashion industry, seeking to integrate their technology into existing brands rather than offer their own in-house items. In June this year, the company announced it had successfully collaborated with two independent artists on two nanocellulose-based accessories – a top and a pair of sneakers.
“We’re collaborating closely with major brands and prototyping products from footwear to luxury automotive interiors,” said Zimri Hinshaw, Founder and CEO of Bucha Bio. “Commercial industries will evolve beyond exclusively leather-based products in the next 25 years due to overwhelming consumer demand and we’re at the forefront of supporting brands as they shift towards more sustainable models.”
The global nanocellulose market has seen significant growth over the last few years, with emerging markets predominantly in Japan, North America and Europe. Such materials can be used to develop paper and pulp alternatives as well as new forms of textiles, favoured for the low cost of production and durability and indeed, Mirai can reportedly be used beyond clothing, with thicker iterations being suitable for car dashboards or thinner ones used as a packaging alternative.