Natalie Portman, who recently invested in vegan leather
Reading Time: < 1 minute Portman regularly uses her platform to advocate veganism Credit: Instagram
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Natalie Portman and John Legend have invested in a company creating vegan leather from fungus. 

The celebs backed MycoWorks in its latest financing round – where it raised $45 million. The brand will use the money to ‘scale up and meet demand’ for its animal-free leather, dubbed ‘Reishi’.

Despite COVID-19, the brand says it has seen ‘accelerating demand’ for its product throughout the year. It says it will announce’ partnerships with leading global luxury fashion and footwear brands’ in the upcoming months.

‘Delighted’

Matt Sculliin is the CEO of MycoWorks. In an online statement, he said: “We’ve created a biotech platform for the fashion and luxury industries. We deliver the highest quality, most versatile natural materials on Earth. 

“Our vision is to grow the future of materials. These investors see the long-term potential for MycoWorks to transform many industries with our patented Fine Mycelium technology.”

Moreover, Scullin said he was ‘delighted’ to welcome Portman and Legend to the company. He added that the star’s ‘support for sustainable options in the fashion industry will only further its traction’.

Vegan leather made from mushrooms

MycoWorks says its Reishi leather ‘performs like cowhide’ but contains no animal products or plastic. Sheets of Reishi’s interwoven Fine Mycelium™ cells are grown to size and ‘can be finely-tuned as it’s cultivated’.

Then, the sheets are ‘finished by traditional tanneries with green, chrome-free chemistry’. 

MycoWorks says this showcases how it ‘brings technological innovation’ that is essential for ‘luxury fashion brands’.

*WTT Investment Ltd. (Taipei, Taiwan) and DCVC Bio co-led the financing round. New investors such as Valor Equity Partners, Humboldt Fund, Gruss & Co. as well as others participated in the series-B round. Existing investors include companies such as Novo Holdings, 8VC, SOSV, AgFunder, Wireframe Ventures, Tony Fadell, and others.

Liam Gilliver

Liam Gilliver

Liam is the Deputy Editor and Social Media Coordinator for Plant Based News. He has written for a number of top publications including Gay Times, Attitude Magazine, Oh Comely, and The Huffington Post - and is the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.