Pre-Seed funding for Uncaged Innovations, a biomaterials startup specializing in eco-friendly leather substitutes, totaled $2 million.
Investors, including InMotion Ventures, the investment division of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), provide funding for Uncaged. Additional mission-driven funds and syndicates working to end the use of animals in supply chains, such as VegInvest, Stray Dog Capital, Alwyn Capital, Hack Capital, and GlassWalls Syndicate, took part in the round.
High-performance Vegan Leather
According to the company, the funding will be used to introduce the next generation of high-performance vegan leather, a sustainable substitute for conventional animal products that does not forego the luxurious feel or durability. Based on composite plant-based proteins and polypeptides, Uncaged has created a formulation library for creating biomimetic leather substitutes.
According to Uncaged, its bioleather mimics the collagen fibril structure to deliver the performance of animal leather by using grain proteins as the primary matrix and adding other natural ingredients. The company’s platform provides the ability to generate materials with customized mechanical and aesthetic characteristics, suitable for a variety of end-use applications.
A highly coveted National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant has been awarded to Uncaged for its innovative technology, supporting the company’s ongoing research and development.
Ousting Plastic Leather
“The current market landscape for alternative leathers relies heavily on plastic-based materials,” Uncaged’s CEO and co-founder, Stephanie Downs, said in a statement. “We can combine biodegradable components with different properties like texture, strength, flexibility, water resistance, color, and fragrance thanks to our technological platform. We can modify our formulation to satisfy various performance requirements. We’re excited to collaborate with InMotion Ventures and JLR to rethink leather in the automotive sector.”
“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,” Downs said.
“We are excited to support Uncaged Innovations and its vision for the future of biomaterials,” said InMotion Ventures’ Managing Director, Mike Smeed. According to the company, InMotion Ventures’ mission to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs and establish new standards in quality, technology, and sustainability is in line with Uncaged’s mission to produce environmentally friendly materials.
“We’re proud to be collaborating with Uncaged to explore responsible leather alternatives as we look forward to a sustainability-rich modern luxury vision for our future vehicles,” JLR Director and Head of Sustainability Rossella Cardone commented on the investment. “This is consistent with our strategy regarding the longevity and provenance of the materials we use. We need to invest in sustainable material innovation and embrace new material possibilities, processes, and technology.”