Brooklyn Startup Raises $40 Million to Make Vegan Leather

Making “biologically identical” animal-free leather products, Modern Meadow has secured a windfall to bring its cruelty-free material to the market.

Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn-based startup specializing in animal-free leather, has raised $40 million in funding to begin manufacturing its “biofabricates.” With a mission to disrupt the $100 billion leather industry, Modern Meadow is using a line of cells it has developed to produce collagen—the protein building block that is the basis for its biologically identical, animal-free leather. “Leather is essentially entirely made of collagen—organized collagen protein,” CEO Andreas Forgacs said. “Our process makes cow collagen, without touching a cow. There’s no cow involved.” The proteins form nanofibers out of triple-helix collagen structures that then form a larger network of fibers before being made into hide, Forgacs said. The end result can be especially tailored to designer’s tastes, including adjustments in flexibility, elasticity, thinness, or thickness. The $40 million in Series B funding will go toward helping Modern Meadow to hire more staff, to expand its lab and design studio, and to open its first factory.

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