UNCAGED Innovations, a biomaterials startup focused on sustainable leather alternatives, has raised a $2 million pre-seed round from investors, including InMotion Ventures, JLR’s investment arm. Other mission-driven funds and syndicates striving to replace the use of animals in supply chains participated in the round, including VegInvest, Stray Dog Capital, Alwyn Capital, Hack Capital, and GlassWalls Syndicate.
The funding will be used to launch the company’s next-generation high-performance vegan leather, a sustainable alternative to traditional animal products that do not compromise on luxury feel or durability.
UNCAGED Innovations, a biomaterials startup founded in 2020, is redefining the use of leather in consumer and automotive goods. The company is working towards improving an industry by creating a platform of biomimetic substitutes for animal hides. Notably, UNCAGED Innovations has been awarded the highly-coveted National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to support the research and development of its unique technology.
“The current market landscape for alternative leathers relies heavily on plastic-based materials. Our technology platform enables us to fuse biodegradable elements that each provide unique characteristics, such as texture, strength, flexibility, water resistance, color, and fragrance. We can tune our formulation to meet different performance specifications. We’re thrilled to work with InMotion Ventures and JLR to reimagine leather in the automotive industry,” said Stephanie Downs, CEO and Co-Founder of UNCAGED. “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.”
The mission of UNCAGED Innovations to create eco-conscious materials aligns with InMotion Ventures’ goal of investing in exceptional entrepreneurs and setting new benchmarks in quality, technology, and sustainability. “We are excited to support UNCAGED Innovations and its vision for the future of biomaterials,” said Mike Smeed, Managing Director of InMotion Ventures. “The company’s commitment to material innovation supports our focus on investing in purpose-driven companies driving positive change across the industry.”
As a collaborator of UNCAGED Innovations, JLR sees sustainable leather alternatives as integral to its modern luxury vision. Rossella Cardone, Director and Head of Sustainability at JLR commented on the investment.
“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. This is in-line with our strategy on the sustainability and provenance of the materials we use. We must embrace new material possibilities, new processes, and new technology and invest in sustainable material innovation.”