Vegan Leather Startup Raises $2 Million, With Help From Jaguar Land Rover

The vegan leather market has skyrocketed in the last few years


2 Minutes Read

A sign for car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover Land Rover traditionally uses leather - but is it about to embrace a vegan future? - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

Car manufacturing company Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has invested in a New York-based vegan leather start-up named Uncaged Innovations.

The undisclosed amount came from JLR’s investment arm, InMotion Ventures. It was part of a pre-seed funding round that saw the biomaterials start-up raise $2 million. Other investors include Stray Dog Capital, Alwyn Capital, VegInvest, GlassWalls Syndicate, and Hack Capital. 

“We’re thrilled to work with InMotion Ventures and JLR to reimagine leather in the automotive industry,” said Stephanie Downs, CEO and co-founder of Uncaged Innovations, in a statement. “We’re proud to have leveraged just one percent of the funds raised by previous innovators to go from concept to full-scale production, giving us a competitive edge over our competitors.”

Uncaged Innovations will use the funding to create a more sustainable alternative to animal leather. It’s thought that the company is prioritizing luxury and durability in its development. 

The rise of vegan leather

The leather interior of a Land Rover car
Land Rover traditionally uses leather – but is it about to embrace a vegan future?

The animal-free leather alternative market has experienced rapid growth in recent years. It was valued at USD $39.5 billion in 2022, and it’s been forecast to grow to $74.5 billion by 2030.

As well as fashion brands, car manufacturers appear to be showing increasing levels of interest in vegan leather. A number of well-known companies including Tesla and BMW, as well as JLR, have made use of it in their interiors in recent years.

While vegan leather (sometimes termed “pleather”) has often traditionally been made from PU, PVC, and other plastic materials, an increasing number of companies are creating more sustainable versions. 

Cactus, pineapple, and mushroom are just three such ingredients that can be used to make plant-based leather. One company in India is also using waste flowers from the Ganges, cleaning up the river in the process. High fashion brands like Stella McCartney and Balenciaga are also promoting vegan leather in their collections.

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