Kering, the renowned French luxury group, has recently invested in Sqim, an Italian start-up specializing in materials bio-produced using mycelium, sourced from mushroom roots. The investment was made through Kering’s venture-capital arm, Kering Ventures, as part of Sqim’s first major funding round, which raised a total of €11 million in capital. Notable investors in this round include CDP Venture Capital, the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF VC), and Progress Tech Transfer.

Sqim, founded in 2015 and located near Milan, focuses on exploring the potential of mycelium-related technologies and developing new materials for various industries. These materials have a significantly lower environmental impact compared to traditional materials, particularly in terms of water consumption, energy usage, land use, and CO2 emissions.

In 2023, Sqim won the prestigious Innovation Prize at the ANDAM competition. Building on the success of their acoustic panels for the interiors architecture and ecological construction sector under the brand Mogu, Sqim introduced a new family of materials called ephea, specifically designed for the fashion industry. These bio-produced materials, made purely from mycelium, were initially used to create a unique hooded, leather-effect maxi coat exclusively for Balenciaga, a brand owned by Kering.

With the funds raised from this investment round, Sqim plans to enhance its technology platform, speed up the industrial scaling-up process for its new materials, invest in further research and development, and strengthen its team. The company also intends to change its name to Sqim once the funding process is finalized.

Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer at Kering, expressed the company’s excitement for Sqim’s innovative alternative. Kering aims to expand its range of high-quality materials and is dedicated to building an external ecosystem of innovators and companies to adopt these sustainable innovations on a larger scale.

Kering continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility in the luxury industry by investing in Sqim. This partnership emphasizes Kering’s dedication to innovation and its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products and supply chain. As the demand for sustainable materials continues to grow, Kering’s investment in Sqim positions the company as a leader in the field of bio-produced materials and strengthens its reputation as a sustainable luxury brand.

Useful links:
Sqim Official Website
Kering Official Website