South Korea Mycelium Materials and Meat Company Mycel Lands $10 Million In Pre-Series A
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South Korea’s Mycel is poised for rapid expansion with the closing of its $10 million Pre-Series A funding round.
The mycelium wave has been sweeping food and fashion in recent years, and South Korea’s Mycel is the latest to tap into the mushroom root structure with its recent funding round led by Korea Development Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea, Hyundai Motor’s Zero 1 Fund, Stone Bridge, We Ventures and Spring Camp.
Mycelium has caught the attention of some of the biggest names in luxury fashion, with Hermès, Stella McCartney, and Tommy Hilfiger all exploring the material. McCartney launched a limited edition handbag made from Bolt Threads’ Mylo mushroom leather last month.
The global wholesale market for alternatives to animal textiles is expected to surpass $2 billion by 2026 as companies and consumers seek out more sustainable and ethical options. Mycelium, in particular, is attracting high-end luxury producers’ attention because of its likeness to conventional leather.
Bolt Threads secured more than $253 million last year to accelerate its materials. Competitor MycoWorks raised $125 million in its recent Series C, and Ecovative Design, which is working with companies including IKEA, Pangaia, and Calvin Klein on materials and vegan meat via its My Forest Foods spinoff, recently landed $60 million in additional funding.
Like Ecovative, Mycel is exploring materials and meat made from the mushroom root structure. The versatile material can be used across leather alternatives in cars and shoes, as well as cosmetics, and food like bacon.
Likewise, the demand for animal-free meat is on the rise globally. South Korea’s plant-based Unlimeat has seen an increased demand for its products, which it also recently introduced to the U.S. market. In April, it sold out of its new plant-based jerky shortly after launching. The company has since expanded to include pulled pork, dumplings, mince, and even a dairy-free cheese option.
But the closest competitor to Mycel may be U.S.-based Meati and the U.K.’s Quorn. Meati is using mushroom meat, which recently earned it investment from Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle. Quorn uses a mycoprotein to mimic the taste and texture of conventional meat—a move that earned it backing from talk show host Drew Barrymore.
Mycel, which was founded in 2020 by former Hyundai Motor employees Sah, Sungwon Kim (COO) and Yunggon Park (CSO), says the new funding will allow it to open a production plant in South Korea and double its employees. Mycel is aiming for a commercial launch sometime next year.
Top image via Mycel