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January 9, 2024
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Kering Invests $12 Million in Bio-based Material Innovator, Mogu


  • Kering, the French luxury group, has invested in Mogu, an Italian biomaterials start-up, as part of its €11 million ($12 million) Series A funding round.
  • Kering has previously worked with Mogu’s mushroom-derived leather alternative, with Balenciaga releasing a limited run of coats made from the material in 2022.
  • The funding will allow Mogu to build a demo plant and invest in R&D for its mycelium-based products.

Kering, the French luxury group, has invested in Mogu, an Italian biomaterials start-up, as part of its €11 million ($12 million) Series A funding round. Mogu, which is planning to change its name to Sqim following the investment, has developed a mushroom-derived leather alternative using mycelium material.

Kering has already experimented with Mogu’s material, with its subsidiary brand Balenciaga releasing a highly limited run of coats made from the mycelium material in 2022. The funding from Kering and other investors will enable Mogu to build a demonstration plant and invest in research and development for its mycelium-based products. The size of Kering’s investment was not disclosed.

This funding round is a boost for Mogu during a challenging time for material innovation in the fashion industry. The economic outlook and rising interest rates have made fundraising more difficult, and several start-ups in the fashion sector have struggled as a result. However, Kering’s investment shows confidence in Mogu’s sustainable and innovative alternative to traditional leather.

This investment also aligns with Kering’s commitment to sustainability. The luxury group has been actively seeking out and investing in innovative solutions to reduce its environmental impact. Mycelium-based materials have gained attention in recent years as a more sustainable alternative to traditional leather, which is often associated with animal cruelty and environmental degradation.

The use of mycelium in material production offers several benefits. It is a renewable resource that can be grown quickly and sustainably, with the potential for large-scale production. Mycelium-based materials are also biodegradable and can be composted at the end of their lifecycle, reducing waste and environmental pollution. Additionally, mycelium-based materials can be customized and shaped into various forms, making them versatile for different design applications.

Kering’s investment in Mogu highlights the growing interest and potential for biomaterials in the fashion industry. As consumers become more conscious of the environmental impact of their purchases, brands are seeking out sustainable alternatives to traditional materials. By investing in innovative start-ups like Mogu, Kering is positioning itself as a leader in sustainable fashion and driving the development of new materials that can revolutionize the industry.

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