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Modern Meadow raises $40 million to grow leather without livestock

TechCrunch TechCrunch 28/06/2016 Lora Kolodny

A Brooklyn-based startup called Modern Meadow has raised $40 million to become a top source of leather for the world’s makers of fashion and accessories, luggage, sporting goods, upholstery and furniture.

Rather than raising animals to slaughter them and take the skin off their backs in a physically and chemically intensive process, Modern Meadow “biofabricates” its leather in labs and foundries.

Modern Meadow CEO and founder Andras Forgacs explains that biofabrication involves the production of collagen, and rearranging proteins and cells to yield leather that is “biologically identitcal” to traditional types.

A Creative Director for Modern Meadow, Suzanne Lee, said the company’s processes can generate leather that’s made to a designer’s specifications, proprietary to their brand, and imbued with desirable traits like a certain flexibility, elasticity, thinness or thickness.

Once produced, the leathers can go to a tannery for additional dyeing, she noted.

Horizons Ventures, an equity investing vehicle for Li Ka-shing, and Iconiq Capital led Modern Meadow’s Series B round, joined by ARTIS Ventures, Temasek, Breakout Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, Collaborative Fund and Tony Faddell, the inventor, designer and founder of Nest Labs.

The funding brings Modern Meadow’s total capital raised to $53.5 million to-date.

Horizons’ Bart Swanson said

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