Luxury giant Kering has backed VitroLabs, a San Francisco startup developing cell-cultivated leather. The French fashion company, whose brands include Gucci and Saint Laurent, has participated in a $46 million funding round to accelerate VitroLabs’ commercialization.
“Biotech companies have the opportunity to lead the way in changing how we produce materials”
The Series A funding was led by Agronomics, the UK cellular agriculture investment group headed by billionaire philanthropist Jim Mellon, and also received funding from environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio amongst others. VitroLabs is a Bay-Area-based biotech company leading the development of a new scientific process to grow what it claims is the world’s first cellular cultivated animal leather.
The funds will be used to accelerate commercialization for the biotech startup, including the building and scaling of pilot production. Global luxury group Kering, with assets of over €27 billion, will continue its partnership with VitroLabs in bringing support for product quality testing, tanning, and finishing.
“At a time when environmental stewardship is more important than ever, biotech companies have the opportunity to lead the way in changing how we produce materials and build supply chains, working hand in hand with existing artisans and craftspeople who are the cornerstone of the $400B leather goods industry,” stated VitroLabs CEO Ingvar Helgason.