E-Leather, a UK start-up making eco-friendly leather from scrap materials, has raised £70 million from new and existing investors.
Funding has been led by ETF Partners in partnership with funds managed by Hermes GPE. It will be used to invest in a state-of-the-art facility to meet demand from a broad base of international industries.
The new factory will allow E-Leather’s production to be significantly increased from 2019 onwards.
Earlier this year, E-Leather entered a long-term strategic innovation partnership with Nike to introduce a new performance material, Nike Flyleather – a performance, engineered leather that is made from at least 50% recycled leather fibres and is lighter and more durable (based on abrasion testing), than full grain leather.
It is manufactured using unused traditional leather trimmings diverted from landfill which are reconstituted with synthetic materials to create the engineered leather. Creating it uses 90% less water and has an 80% lower carbon footprint than traditional leather manufacturing
The funding round will be used to further penetrate the estimated £80 billion global market for engineered leather, by entering new industry verticals, geographies and scaling the use of Nike FlyLeather in footwear and apparel.
Chris McBean, President of E-Leather, said: “This is an important milestone in the development of E-Leather, which has become a major success story in high-tech materials manufacturing.
“The new facilities will extend our global reach, enabling us to offer high performance, environmentally-friendly leather products to new markets as well as provide existing customers with new applications through product and technology innovation.”
Patrick Sheehan, Managing Partner at ETF Partners, said: “E-Leather’s recent move into consumer-driven markets through its partnership with Nike demonstrates the breadth of the opportunity for this sustainable, high performance material.
“Responsible production has always been at the core of E-Leather’s mission, and its impressive commercial success is having a positive impact on the use of the earth’s scarce resources.”