Texas-based Bucha Bio says it has closed an oversubscribed Seed funding round, raising $1.1 million for its biobased materials produced by a kombucha-based bacterial nanocellulose along with plant-based materials to replace leather and plastic.
The new funding round was led by New Climate Ventures, Lifely VC, and Beni VC, along with Prithvi VC, Asymmetry VC, and investors from the Glasswall Syndicate, including Alwyn Capital, as well as Chris Zarou, CEO & Founder of Visionary Music Group.
Shorai and Hikari are Bucha Bio’s two biobased materials currently in development. The company says it will be introducing its Hikari material later this year. It has a translucent aesthetic and unique processing capabilities that allow it to function as an alternative to animal leather, plastic leather, and other types of synthetic materials.
“The time for rapid growth for biomaterials is now. Bucha Bio’s team and technical development are advancing hand in hand with the demands of brand partnerships, and we are excited to support them as they capitalize on this global opportunity,” Eric Rubenstein, Founding Managing Partner at New Climate Ventures, said in a statement.
Zarou said he’s excited about the early market traction and the vision of the Bucha Bio team. “Their next-gen biobased materials are game-changing, and their goals align with my personal vision for a more sustainable future within the entertainment industry and beyond.”
Demand for sustainable materials across all industries is on the rise. According to the Material Innovation Initiative, the biomaterials sector has seen more than $2.3 billion in investments since 2015. Specifically, companies are looking at ways to replace materials with heavy carbon footprints including plastic and leather.
Some bio-based materials can come from plant materials such as agricultural waste; Ganni, the Danish luxury fashion label recently released a tracksuit using bio-based fiber made from banana crop waste, for example. Bucha bio uses bacteria from the popular wellness drink kombucha to lay the foundation for its nano biomaterials, which include nanofibers, nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanocomposites, and nanocoatings, among others.
Road to net-zero
“Prithvi Ventures invested in Bucha Bio to help them achieve gigaton scale GHG emissions reduction, using a price parity roadmap.” said Kunal Sethi of Prithvi Ventures.
Biomaterials can help emissions-heavy sectors like the fashion and automotive industries achieve net zero emissions. Companies are already exploring a range of options. German automaker BMW recently detailed its plans to shift toward more sustainable leather and other climate-friendly interior materials.
Bucha Bio’s new funding will go to support Bucha’s development and market plans, scaling products to bring to market by next year. It’s also developing including biofibers, biopackaging, and hard biocomposites. The company is also building new headquarters in Houston, which will house a materials development laboratory, prototype manufacturing, and administrative offices.
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