Genomatica to Triple Sustainable Materials Production Capacity After $ 118 Million Round
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Genomatica, the innovative sustainable materials startup, just closed a $ 118 million Series C funding round. The funding will be used to expand its portfolio of plant-based biomaterials, which aims to replace the use of fossil fuel-based textiles. Genomatica will soon welcome its second plant built using its technology, which will triple the global production capacity of just one of its sustainable ingredients.
San Diego biotechnology Genomatica has secured $ 118 million in a Series C funding round led by life sciences investor Novo Holdings. Other investors included Viking Global, Casdin Capital, Irving Investors, Nicholas Investment Partners, Tenere Capital and Tharsis Capital. The startup said the funds would be used to accelerate its global commercialization and expansion, with the goal of replacing polluting fossil fuel materials.
Remaking materials in a sustainable way
Genomatica’s technology enables the company to recreate molecularly identical materials that can perform and function like its fossil fuel counterparts. Using plant-based or waste raw materials, the company creates sustainable and cost-effective materials and ingredients that can reduce the environmental impact by 93% compared to conventional polluting fabrics.
Some of its products already on the market include replacements for plastic-based spandex and nylon, a material often used to make everything from rugs to clothing and even food packaging.
Currently, fashion alone uses a huge amount of virgin fiber made from non-renewable sources, around 53 million tonnes per year. Genomatica says the new funding will help continue R&D to expand its portfolio of sustainable solutions and help “meet ever increasing demands for sustainability amid the urgent climate crisis.”
Increase in production capacity
The latest round of funding comes as Genomatica prepares to welcome the second plant that relies on its technology. It will be built by US food giant Cargill and German chemicals company Helm, and is expected to triple global production of one of their renewable chemicals to over 100,000 tonnes per year.
Last year, Genomatica teamed up with European nylon producer Aquafil to increase its production of bio-nylon by 50 times.
Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling said the new funds will help the company create similar partnerships across multiple industries to “drive a widespread transition to sustainable materials.”
“We have intentionally grown by proving the scalability of our products, fostering strategic partnerships with leading brands and manufacturers and laying the groundwork for reshaping supply chains,” he continued. “We are increasingly driving the transition to more sustainable products that consumers and investors want – and that humanity needs. ”
Growing demand for sustainable materials
For investors, sustainable materials innovators like Genomatica are poised to grow, especially as more and more consumers begin to demand brands for environmentally friendly products. According to an internal consumer survey conducted by Genomatica, 86% of US consumers said sustainability was a “good goal.”
This is in line with global polls, with a recent study by Wunderman Thompson finding that over 80% of consumers expect businesses to “play their part” in solving major social and environmental challenges. Another analysis estimates that this demand will make the ‘next generation’ materials industry, which includes players like Bolt Threads and Modern Meadows, a global market of $ 2.2 billion by 2026.
“Sustainability is a must for consumers and increasingly ESG-focused investors, making it a business imperative for brands,” commented Anders Bendsen Spohr, Senior Partner at Novo Holdings. “We see a huge opportunity for organic manufacturing to help industries meet this demand for sustainable products. ”
Main image courtesy of Unsplash.