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Sustainable Materials

Earth-friendly biotech solutions for the textile, packaging and construction industries.

Overview

Consumers around the world are demanding more sustainable packaging, clothes, energy, food, and just about anything else available on the market today.

Rising awareness around climate change, corporate accountability, and policy support from governmental and international policy bodies all contribute to this movement.

In response, a new wave of companies are working to supply brands with renewable and sustainable materials that help maintain equilibrium between business and the environment and key natural resources.

Most of the players within the industry rely on biotechnology processes to produce these materials and have been enabled by recent R&D driven advances and resultant products and processes.

What's driving this industry?
Market Sizing

The US market for sustainable materials could reach USD 2.1 billion by 2025

Conservative case

USD 0.9 Bn

Base case

USD 1.3 Bn

Expansion case

USD 2.1 Bn

USD billion00.511.522.5202020212022202320242025
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COVID-19 IMPACT

  • Several sustainable material companies, including Danimer Scientific, Zymergen, and Allbirds endured production delays and store closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • During April and May 2020, around USD 36.7 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans were received by sustainable material firms, such as RWDC Industries, Newlight Technologies, MycoWorks, and Ecovative Design, to support payroll and other expenses during the pandemic.

  • Allbirds and Zymergen also supported healthcare workers and frontline staff by volunteering and donating during the pandemic’s early days.

View detail

Market Mapping


We break down the sustainable materials industry into materials derived using bio-based and recycled sources. Within bio-based we looked at companies innovating new types of sustainable alternatives to leather, along with innovations in materials used in textile, packaging and industrial applications. The recycled materials segment includes companies that recycle used clothing, plastic waste, and food waste for materials to be used in textile, packaging, and other applications such as household items and building materials. Each segment represents a wide range of products given a broad diversity of materials and processes employed by competing firms. The segments involved in bio-based materials have the largest number of companies, the leather segment leads in terms of funding and the commercialization of products relative to other textile materials.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre-Seed
Bio-based leather
?
Bio-based textile materials
?
Bio-based packaging materials
?
Bio-based industrial materials
?
Biotechnologies
Biotechnologies
Biotechnologies
Biotechnologies
Adidas
H&M
Stella McCartney
Fossil
Kering
Volvo
Nike
Naot
Bolt Threads
Ecovative Design
Ananas Anam
Nova Kaeru
Modern Meadow
Natural Fiber Welding
Po-Zu
Mycotech
Vegea
Desserto
Wills’ Vegan Store
FruitLeather Rotterdam
Von Holzhausen
Frumat
MycoWorks
VitroLabs
Phool.co
Qorium
Beyond Leather Materials
Bucha Bio
Le Qara
Revoltech
Amadou Leather
ScobyTec
Nova Milan
TomTex
Biophilica
Bio2Materials
Oleago
Eastman
Adidas
H&M
Stella McCartney
Bolt Threads
Genomatica
Allbirds
Ecovative Design
Spinnova
Infinited Fiber Company
Anellotech
Mi Terro
Mango Materials
Orange Fiber
Flocus
Rubi Laboratories
Modern Synthesis
ALT TEX
Bananatex
Biocouture
Eastman
Dow
Braskem
PepsiCo
Unilever
Coca-Cola
Jadex
WinCup
Danimer Scientific
Origin Materials
Tipa
Ecovative Design
Noissue
Magical Mushroom
Vegware
Bioplastech
Eco Six Pack Ring
RWDC Industries
Anellotech
Vericool
Sulapac
NotPla
Bio-lutions
Loliware
Cruz Foam
Lactips
Do Eat
Lean Orb
Pond
Melodea
Delipac
Paptic
Bambrew
SoluBlue
EggPlant
Evoware
Candy Cutlery
Pulpex
Arekapak
Gen3Bio
Blue Ocean Closures
Eastman
Dow
Braskem
Adidas
Unilever
Cargill
Givaudan (AMSilk)
Jadex
Volvo
Hydromer
Naot
Genomatica
Origin Materials
UBQ Materials
Newlight Technologies
Bcomp
Native Shoes
LanzaTech
Checkerspot
DMC Biotechnologies
Anellotech
Made of Air
Mango Materials
Mycotech
Melodea
Biohm
Zymergen
Trillium Renewable Chemicals
Prometheus Materials
AISTI
Nova Milan
Rens
NoMy
Husk-to-Home

The Disruptors


While the startups profiled in this report engage in a great variety of processes and inputs, there are some overlaps between businesses within the different bio-based material segments and even with the segments of recycled materials.

Within the bio-based leather market, the most highly-funded startups as of July 2021 are Bolt Threads, Modern Meadow, and Ecovative Design. These companies derive a form of vegan leathers from natural materials such as mycelium, algae, yeast, and other plant-based sources. Bolt Threads is also leading the bio-based textiles space in terms of the highest private funding. However, this segment also includes the listed disruptor Spinnova, and Allbirds—which reportedly filed for an initial public offering in June 2021 and is expected to go public by September 2021.

Regarding bio-based packaging materials, Origin Materials, Ecovative Design, and Anellotech are the most highly-funded startups. Origin Materials agreed to merge with a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in February 2021, a transaction that resulted in Origin Materials going public at a USD 1.8 billion valuation. This segment focuses on bioplastics and other biodegradable materials for packaging and single-use plastic applications.

The recycled materials segments include companies working to solve the global plastic pollution problem by producing recycled alternatives to plastic, textile materials and other materials with applications in household goods, building materials, and furnishing. Common inputs for companies in this space include clothing waste, plastic waste, and food waste.

Bio-based leather

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Bolt Threads
472
MycoWorks
187
Modern Meadow
184
Natural Fiber Welding
156
Ecovative Design
91
VitroLabs
54
TomTex
2
Ananas Anam
0
Revoltech
Unknown
Nova Kaeru
Unknown
Desserto
Unknown
FruitLeather Rotterdam
Unknown
Von Holzhausen
Unknown
Frumat
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Phool.co
Qorium
Beyond Leather Materials
Biophilica
Po-Zu
Bucha Bio
Mycotech
Le Qara
Amadou Leather
Vegea
ScobyTec
Bio2Materials
Oleago
Wills’ Vegan Store
Nova Milan

Bio-based textile materials

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Allbirds
Public - Market cap USD 783.3 mn
Spinnova
Public - Market cap USD 409.9 mn
Bolt Threads
472
Genomatica
387
Ecovative Design
91
Infinited Fiber Company
52
Anellotech
25
Rubi Laboratories
5
Modern Synthesis
4
Orange Fiber
0
Watchlist
?
Mi Terro
Mango Materials
ALT TEX
Bananatex
Biocouture
Flocus

Bio-based packaging materials

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Origin Materials
Public - Market cap USD 1.0 bn
Danimer Scientific
Public - Market cap USD 572.6 mn
RWDC Industries
263
Tipa
130
Ecovative Design
91
Anellotech
25
Vericool
24
Sulapac
21
NotPla
20
Bio-lutions
11
Noissue
10
Loliware
10
Cruz Foam
7
Lactips
6
Magical Mushroom
4
Lean Orb
0
Melodea
Unknown
Vegware
Unknown
Bioplastech
Unknown
Eco Six Pack Ring
Unknown
Delipac
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Paptic
Bambrew
SoluBlue
Do Eat
EggPlant
Gen3Bio
Pond
Evoware
Blue Ocean Closures
Candy Cutlery
Pulpex
Arekapak

Bio-based industrial materials

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Origin Materials
Public - Market cap USD 1.0 bn
Zymergen
Public - Market cap USD 336.2 mn
Genomatica
387
LanzaTech
310
UBQ Materials
170
Newlight Technologies
107
Checkerspot
54
DMC Biotechnologies
53
Bcomp
38
Anellotech
25
Trillium Renewable Chemicals
9
Prometheus Materials
8
AISTI
2
Melodea
Unknown
Biohm
Unknown
Native Shoes
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Made of Air
Rens
Mango Materials
Mycotech
Nova Milan
NoMy
Husk-to-Home

Bolt Threads

Bolt Threads manufactures vegan “spider” silk and mycelium-based materials. Bolt Threads develops isolated silk proteins from proteins inspired by spider silk through a yeast fermentation process. The company’s Microsilk products are sold under its clothing brand, Best Made Co. The company has also developed another biomaterial using mushroom-based mycelium, an alternative leather product branded as Mylo, which is produced on a larger scale. 

In September 2021, Bolt Threads announced its plans to produce Mylo on a commercial scale by the end of 2022 and expected to collaborate with mushroom farmers to heighten its mycelium crops.For its Microsilk product, Bolt had a production capacity of 32,000 sq ft per annum as of 2018. Since Microsilk remains significantly more expensive than traditional silk, the founders were seeking ways to scale up. 

Key customers and partnerships

For its Microsilk product, Bolt Threads launched its first collaboration in 2017 with fashion designer Stella McCartney and introduced its second prototype in the form of a biodegradable tennis dress.  

The leather alternative Mylo has been used in collaborations with Stella McCartney, Seattle-based leather bag manufacturer Chester Wallace, and Canadian athletic apparel retailer Lululemon. In October 2020, The Mylo Consortium was also formed including Adidas, Stella McCartney, Kering, and Lululemon, who collectively have made a seven-figure investment into Bolt Threads to produce Mylo. In return for their investments, these brands would have access to a large supply of the product. 

Stella McCartney has been experimenting with Mylo to create clothing prototypes with plans to use the material in upcoming collections. Adidas used Mylo to produce high-performance footwear for the first time in April 2021 by making a vegan version of its “Stan Smith” sneaker design that dates back to 1965 and had plans to expand the use of Mylo material in its other products including handbags, wallets, shoes, jackets. In February 2022, Lululemon launched a Mylo-based yoga bag collection, which included a multipurpose yoga bag and a storage bag for workout gear. Mylo was also used by Danish luxury brand Ganni for the launch of its limited edition Mylo-based wallet range and one-of-a-kind saddle-bags in June 2022. Ganni’s partnership with Bolt Threads included plans to release more Mylo-based products in Q1 2023. With growing demand for its Mylo product, in February 2022, the company partnered with Mycelium Materials Europe (MME) for the commercial production of Mylo. 

Funding and financials

The company’s last funding round was a USD 123 million Series D in January 2018 led by Baillie Gifford. The funds were used to commercialize the company’s Microsilk products.

Segment:
Bio-based leather
Total funding:
USD 472.1 million
Competitors:
MycoWorks, Desserto, Checkerspot, Modern Meadow, Ecovative Design
Disruptor Funding History

Bio-based leather:

Bolt Threads
MycoWorks
Modern Meadow
Natural Fiber Welding
Ecovative Design
VitroLabs
TomTex
Ananas Anam
Phool.co
Qorium
Beyond Leather Materials
Biophilica
Po-Zu
Bucha Bio
Mycotech
Le Qara

Bio-based textile materials:

Allbirds
Spinnova
Bolt Threads
Genomatica
Ecovative Design
Infinited Fiber Company
Anellotech
Rubi Laboratories
Modern Synthesis
Orange Fiber
Mi Terro
Mango Materials
ALT TEX

Bio-based packaging materials:

Origin Materials
Danimer Scientific
RWDC Industries
Tipa
Ecovative Design
Anellotech
Vericool
Sulapac
NotPla
Bio-lutions
Noissue
Loliware
Cruz Foam
Lactips
Magical Mushroom
Lean Orb
Paptic
Bambrew
SoluBlue
Do Eat
EggPlant

Incumbents


Industry incumbents cover a wide range of products and applications from fabrics, to shoes, cosmetics, and industrial uses. Some of these firms have also recognized the importance of having a sustainable partner or business embedded within their value chains.

The majority of these companies have entered the industry via acquisition of smaller companies focused on sustainability to gain more control over their own supply chains. Other major companies such as Adidas, Aquafil, and Foss have managed to develop sustainable material businesses in-house.

Bio-based leather
Bio-based textile materials
Bio-based packaging materials
Bio-based industrial materials
In House Development
M&A
Partnership
Investment
Eastman
Dow
Braskem
Adidas
H&M
PepsiCo
Cargill
Stella McCartney
Givaudan (AMSilk)
Fossil
Kering
Coca-Cola
Hydromer
Jadex
Volvo
Nike
Naot
WinCup

Notable Investors


No investor data is available

Funding data are powered by Crunchbase
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