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General Motors backs mycelium materials developer

Collaboration will use proprietary Fine Mycelium technology to explore the use of non-animal materials in automotive design.

19th October 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Emeryville, CA, USA


GM Ventures, the investment arm of General Motors, is to provide funding to biotechnology company MycoWorks and an agreement has been made to co-develop Fine Mycelium materials for potential use in a range of applications within automotive design.

This marks the entry of MycoWorks, based in Emeryville, California, into one of the largest end-use markets for leather and creates a significant opportunity to create more sustainable materials for the automotive industry.

Fine Mycelium technology engineers mycelium – the infinitely renewable root structure of mushrooms – into natural, customisable leather alternatives that match the performance of the highest quality animal leather with lower environmental impact. The company’s platform has enabled a new class of premium, non-animal materials which could support GM’s continued progress toward its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

Animal-free and chrome-free, Fine Mycelium also has superior strength at low thicknesses, offering a compelling pathway to efficiency and weight reduction in car interiors while still meeting the most stringent performance, aesthetic and environmental requirements of the automotive space.

“Working with General Motors is an enormous step forward in the global new materials revolution,” said Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks. “This collaboration is a first for us outside of the fashion industry, demonstrating the enormous potential and applications for Fine Mycelium.”

“Our strategic investment in MycoWorks aims to advance the development of sustainable automotive materials,” added Wade Sheffer, managing director of GM Ventures. “This collaboration will help facilitate R&D efforts and build more sustainable alternatives for our designers.”

In August 2022, following an oversubscribed $125 million Series C funding round, MycoWorks broke ground on its first full-scale production facility, which will enable initial mass-production volumes of several million square feet of Fine Mycelium materials per year, dramatically increase production and partnership capacity, and service Fine Mycelium to a wider range of industries and companies.

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