BioFluff, the San Francisco-based company producing plant-based fur, has closed a pre-seed funding round of $500,000, with funding from SOSV/IndieBio fund, Joyance partners, and Ataraxia Partners Limited, among others.
Fur made from plants is heading to a garment on you soon, with BIoFluff saying its ready to bring its first products to market next year following its pre-seed funding.
The company was nominated to be part of global luxury fashion leader LVMH’s innovation award, including the one-year accelerator program, La Maison des Startups. The accelerator comes with the potential to partner with the luxury group’s Maisons.
LVMH is one of only a few luxury labels without an animal fur ban. Earlier this year it said it was working to develop lab-grown fur. But fur made from plants may also be in its future.
Fur from plants
BioFluff makes its fur from plants that it says mimic conventional animal fur and popular synthetics but without the ethical issues tied to conventional animal fur and the climate impact of plastic-based artificial fur.
“We are not trying to replace century-old traditions and craftsmanships, but we want to give everyone a new high-quality material to work with,“ Martin Stuebler, Co-Founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“We believe that after the alternative food market exploded the next innovations can be expected in the alternative material market,” he said.
The company says unconventional plants “never before used” in creating textiles, including agricultural waste, can disrupt the $35 billion global fur market and $2 billion faux fur market.
The BioFluff production process is virtually free from chemicals common in conventional fur processing, and the end product is fully biodegradable; Stuebler and co-founder Ashwariya Lahariya, bring backgrounds in chemistry and materials science to BioFluff. Stuebler also worked on developing mycelium-based leather, and Lahariya is a fibers and textiles research scientist.
Bringing plant fur to market
Now, they’re gearing up for their commercial debut and a seed funding round in February. “We are planning on launching our first capsule product with one of our fashion clients in Paris in 2023,” Stuebler says. “We are currently growing our team of scientists to advance our fiber augmentation and finishing process,” he says.
“We started the company because we couldn’t find any sustainable fur solutions on the market,” Stuebler told Green Queen.
During the first covid wave in 2020 Stuebler was in lock down near a tannery in Spain and saw animals being processed for fur there.
He reached out to co-founder Ashwariya to discuss technologies that could replace animal and plastic fur. Those technologies are now being used to produce BioFluff’s fur, Stuebler said.
“We are our first and most critical customer when it comes to quality and sustainability.”
Lead image courtesy Biofluff