A Chanel-backed green chemistry company has scored its biggest investment to date.
Evolved by Nature has raised $120 million in Series C financing in a round led by Teachers’ Venture Growth, part of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, and Senator Investment Group, with participation from existing investors including Mousse Partners, Jeff Vinik, The Kraft Group, Roy Disney, Emerald Development Managers and Chanel.
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In 2019, Chanel acquired a minority stake in the company as part of its strategy of developing sustainable materials.
Evolved by Nature develops biomaterial-based products for industries ranging from personal care to textiles and medical devices. Its so-called activated silk technology, consisting of natural silk in liquid form, provides a nontoxic alternative to petrochemicals.
“By harvesting nature’s most powerful chemistry, we are advancing health and a healthier relationship between industries and ecosystems,” said Dr. Greg Altman, cofounder and chief executive officer of Evolved by Nature. “Natural silk protein has evolved over millions of years, and we can finally make it available to sustainably enhance the performance potential of essentially anything with a surface. And TVG’s support allows us to focus our commercialization efforts on the treatment of skin while making activated silk molecules accessible for limitless applications.”
Olivia Steedman, executive managing director of TVG, added: “Evolved By Nature has a compelling vision to break through new scientific boundaries to reduce our reliance on problematic chemicals and build better, more sustainable supply chains in the process. We’re delighted to partner with them in executing this vision and growing their operations globally.”
According to the Evolved By Nature, this financing will aid both research and the launch of activated silk bioactive molecules — skin barrier enhancing ingredients and treatments — in both brand-owned and third-party personal care products, which may serve as natural replacements to retinoids and fossil fuel derivatives like petrolatum.
Its own brand petrochemical free skin care products are set to launch later this year and will include a serum, face cream and body products for ultra sensitive skin.
The funding also advances Evolved by Nature’s biodegradable activated silk technology for sustainable leather and textile finishes, which in the last year have been adopted by fashion brands including Anya Hindmarch, nylon mills such as Alpine Creations and Apex Holdings, and leather tanneries including Richard Hoffmans GmbH & Co. KG, Cyclica Srl and Curtidos Bengala.
“We started with the thought that if we could clean up the supply chains in personal care that utilize products that treat the skin and hair, we could start to have a massive impact,” Altman said. “In developing some of these novel molecules and ingredients, we also realized we can treat the surface of leather and our really large ambitious goal that is now 100 percent realizable is that we can now make natural leather return to its origins.
“We now have the technology that can make leather waterproof and we eliminate the use and need or polyurethane,” he continued. “There’s mushroom leather and new innovations in growing leather in petri dishes and all of this stuff, but most people don’t understand is that you can make whatever you want in terms of the substrate but it’s all getting coated in plastic and then as a result it’s not going to biodegrade. That’s where we have our sights set in fashion.”
Much of this will be done at Evolved by Nature’s full-scale production facility in Walpole, Mass., which opened in May 2022 and produces 150 metric tons of activated silk per year — a 500 percent increase in capacity from 2021. At full operation by 2024, the facility will be able to generate 900 metric tons of activated silk per year.
As for its work with investor Chanel, Altman declined to comment.
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