A Note from Ecovative’s CEO
Announcing Mycelium Foundry One, Fresh Funding, and New Board Members
NOTE: This blog post was initially written October 15, 2019 and contains information that may be out of date.
THE TIMES ARE CHANGING
Consumers demand a reduction in plastics. They also recognize the enormous impact factory farming and mass-scale animal agriculture is having on our planet. We need a new breed of consumer goods and foods.
For 12 years Ecovative has been on a journey to bring self-assembling microorganisms to the consumer market. This is critical in addressing one of our planet’s most pressing issues, climate change. Our focus has been on harnessing the biological technology present under your feet when walking in a forest: Mycelium.
MYCELIUM’S INHERENT ABILITY
For those unfamiliar with mycelium, think of it as the filament-like roots of a mushroom that naturally assemble into large, complex structures. These biological marvels combine two critical steps of biofabrication: molecular synthesis and molecular assembly—the art of moving multiple different tiny units around like legos to create fully formed objects.
Ecovative’s experimentation with mycelium is not to grow mushrooms, but instead, to use the organism’s natural programmability to grow fully formed materials in a single step. Our current successes have been defined by a small cadre of brilliant scientists creating deep insights from a limited set of data. The highly laborious task of creating and growing new formulations of mycelium means a scientist can only test a hypothesis once every two weeks. If you are doing the math, that is only 24 shots on goal per year to create world-changing innovations. Despite these limitations, I’m proud to say our team has over-delivered time and time again.
Today, we are announcing an investment of $10 million in fresh capital; the first significant financing event for Ecovative since 2013. This choice to take on new investment was driven predominantly by the magnitude of the opportunities we see ahead of us within the plant-based meat sector; but also driven by an understanding that if we are to bend the curve on producing bio-based structured materials on a planetary scale, we must apply more capital to the critical task of accelerating and automating the engineering of mycelium.
We are building Mycelium Foundry One— a high through-put advanced research facility for mycelium. Mycelium Foundry One is not just a building, it’s a combination of brilliant people, custom-built mycelium solid-state incubation devices, and data analysis hardware and software. This will allow us to massively accelerate the pace of advancement in mycelium materials, by 10x over the coming year, and eventually by multiple orders of magnitude. Through Mycelium Foundry One we aim to unlock tremendous new potential within the kingdom of Fungi. We are starting with plant-based meat. Our ultimate goal is growing programmable structures across all sectors that touch humanity; structures whose complexity may rival the most advanced of Mother Nature’s natural technologies.
To that end, I’m excited to welcome Senator as a new investor in Ecovative, as well as Evan Lodes to our Board of Directors and Jessica Harris as Board Advisor. In early September, we announced the creation of Atlast Food Co., a food-focused entity of Ecovative Design, dedicated to deploying mycelium technology to create whole-cuts of plant-based meat. The creation of Atlast Food Co. dovetails with this new investment into Ecovative, driving capital both into the core product platform of mycelium, while also building application-specific teams and companies that can exploit its unique properties across multiple market segments.
We are looking forward to growing a futuristic and sustainable world using the best technology available to us: Mycelium.