Mirai, derived from the Japanese word for “future” and the Italian word for “focused look,” is a biodegradable textile that replicates traditional cowhide and can be transformed into different textures and colors. Bucha Bio forms its environmentally friendly and user-friendly material by fermenting bacterial nanocellulose, a natural biopolymer, and then fusing it with natural fibers, a process that produces “high-performance textiles and composites” that can be used to replace products made from animal and petrochemical components such as leather, epoxy resins, and latex.
U.S.-based biomaterials company Bucha Bio has raised $550,000 to scale up production of its product Mirai, according to foreign media reports. And, Bucha Bio also plans to open a production site in New York City around winter.
In 2019, Bucha Bio completed SOSV’s IndieBio program, a global venture capital program to fund biotech startups, with investors including New Climate Ventures, Beni Venture Capital, Lifely VC, QKZ Design, and MicroVentures, as well as individual investors Cary Pinkowski, Nicole Valeriano, Fiona, and George Sobek.
CEO Zimri Hinshaw reported to AGFunder News, “It takes only a few weeks to produce the material pieces using this process, rather than months or years as it would with materials made from animal-based or petroleum.”
Bucha entered the biotech market by is partnering with other companies to help develop the product, rather than producing it themselves. They have already started working with brands, mainly fashion brands, the company said. And Hinshaw wants to set his company apart, not just be an alternative brand.
According to the Materials Innovation Initiative, 94% of U.S. consumers buy environmentally friendly or sustainable materials, and 38 out of 40 fashion brands are actively seeking them as alternatives to traditional materials. Fashion is a small part of the global economy, but it accounts for nearly 10 percent of global emissions, and Bucha Bio’s partnership with Mirai is promising news for the future of materials.