NEW YORK — Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn-based biofabrication company that grows animal-free leather made from living cells, has closed a $40 million Series B round of financing led by Horizons Ventures and Iconiq Capital.
Other investors participating in the round include ARTIS Ventures, Temasek, Breakout Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, Collaborative Fund and Tony Fadell.
The funding, bringing Modern Meadow’s total funds raised to $53.5 million, will enable the company’s transition from research and development to manufacturing—and the commercialization of biofabricated leather for the first time.
Modern Meadow biofabricates leather from collagen protein and other essential building blocks found in animal skin, without involving animals. Biofabrication re-creates aspects of traditional leather, including suppleness and breathability, while enabling new properties not possible from animal hide, such as improved strength to weight ratio.
“Modern Meadow harnesses the combined power of design, biology and engineering to change the way we think about materials, unlocking the capabilities of nature,” said Andras Forgacs, Co-Founder and CEO of Modern Meadow. “Leather, which represents a $100 billion raw material market, has always been prized for its beauty, functionality and enduring status. Today, as a co-product of the meat industry, it is subject to fluctuations in availability, quality, price and growing demand. At Modern Meadow, we’re re-imagining this millennia-old material to create revolutionary new features without harming animals or the environment.”
Modern Meadow’s biofabricated leather also reduces waste by up to 80% compared to traditional leather. Since leather is the tanned skin of an animal—such as cow, sheep or alligator—biofabricated leather, unlike animal hide, can be produced according to the size and shape required, minimizing waste. Moreover, a biofabricated material involves reduced tanning and lower inputs of land, water, energy and chemicals.
“We’ve been delighted with the progress at Modern Meadow and are excited to help them take on the global challenge of producing a new kind of leather that is economically viable, environmentally sustainable and animal-friendly,” said Bart Swanson, Advisor to Horizons Ventures. “In this financing, we are also pleased to join world-class investors such as Temasek, Iconiq and ARTIS to enable a bold and beneficial technology as well as to support the company’s international plans.”
Added Mike Harden, Co-Founder and Senior Partner at ARTIS Ventures, “We take a long-term view, supporting ambitious companies that use science to solve challenging problems. Modern Meadow has exactly what we look for in a company: a talented team tackling a difficult problem with a differentiated approach.”
Based in Brooklyn, Modern Meadow was founded in 2011 with a mission to re-imagine animal materials, such as leather, by applying design and engineering to biology.