US biomaterials startup GOZEN announces a $3.3 million raise in a seed funding round to scale the production of LUNAFORM, a vegan and plastic-free biomaterial made by microorganisms.
The biobased material has multiple applications in the fashion, automotive, and home furnishings industries. Recently, the novel fabric made its debut at Paris Fashion Week in a Balenciaga LUNAFORM Maxi Bathrobe Coat.
“At GOZEN, we produce advanced biomaterials with the potential to unlock circular design”
“At GOZEN, we produce advanced biomaterials with the potential to unlock circular design. With this investment, we’ve shown that we have a path to delivering on that potential at scale,” says Ece Gozen, founder and CEO of the biomaterials company.
The new funds will also enable the company to accelerate its R&D efforts for LUNAFORM and new vegan and plastic-free biomaterials. Additionally, the startup said that it will initiate plans to establish in Turkey a commercial-scale facility, producing over one million square feet annually.
GOZEN has developed a fermentation platform that uses microorganisms, nutrients, and natural agents to make a continuous (not layered) 3D material. The biobased leather is said to have remarkable tensile strength — stronger than animal leather — and flexibility while soft with a “natural drape.”
LUNAFORM is already available in 13-square-foot sheets with a customizable thickness and texture. Its manufacturing method is entirely vegan, non-GMO, and without harsh synthetic chemicals. Furthermore, GOZEN’s material production process takes ten days and bypasses tanning methods.
Po Bronson, managing director of IndieBio (GOZEN’s first investor), comments: “There is a lot of competition now in animal-free leather. But I believed that Gozen’s approach could surpass all others in both performance and economics, and we’ve already demonstrated this by launching our first commercial product – at Fashion Week, no less. We’ve accomplished in months what it’s taken others years to do.”