Alt. Leather, a plant-based leather start-up, secures $1.1 million in a highly oversubscribed seed funding round

Alt. Leather Secures $1.1 Million in Oversubscribed Seed Funding Round

Alt. Leather is a Melbourne-based startup founded by Tina Funder in 2022. It has raised $1.1 million in the initial stage to produce Australia’s first 100% plant-based alternative to leather. They have gotten money from Startmate, The Austin Group, Robyn Denholm’s family office Wollemi Capital Group, and LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund. With the money, Alt. Leather will be able to use cutting-edge tools and do research at some of Melbourne’s best universities. They will also be able to move forward with filing for a provisional patent and making small samples with key brands.

The Vision Behind Alt. Leather

In 2022, Funder released the Life on Mars (LOM) handbags, which were made with a leather-like material made from cactus and apples. This was Funder’s first foray into the vegan leather market. Funder started Alt. Leather because she could not find any materials that did not contain plastic or petroleum. However, polyurethane (PU) is used as a binder in LOM products. Alt. leather is made from agricultural waste and plants that grow back, with no plastics or animal products.

This material can take the place of both animal leather and synthetic leather made from petroleum. Currently, well-known brands like Apple, Tesla, and Stella McCartney are staying away from animal leather. Alt. Leather wants to be the “default choice” alternative to traditional leather around the world so that synthetic leathers made from petroleum are no longer needed.

Market Potential for Sustainable Alternatives

The Material Innovation Initiative says that the global market for synthetic leather is worth about US$70 billion ($106 billion). Still, only 3% of that is made up of sustainable alternatives. This indicates a massive opportunity for the growth of sustainable alternatives in the synthetic leather industry. With increasing consumer awareness and demand for environmentally friendly products, there is a strong potential for sustainable synthetic leather to capture a larger market share.

Supportive Investors and Future Prospects

Startmate was in the seed round and has been with the company from the beginning. Startmate is proud to have been the first company to invest in Alt. Leather when it was just an idea. The speed of product development is akin to that of a software company. Despite discouraging historical data indicating fundraising challenges for solo-women-founded hardware companies, Alt. Leather has raised a great round with great investors.

The Lisa Anderson Fund is supporting Alt. Leather in its goal to make our everyday lives more eco-friendly with new materials, says Dr. Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic.Additionally, Victoria Denholm, CEO of Wollemi Capital Group, says that Funder’s drive and creativity are a big part of Alt.’s success so far. The Austin Group has been helping Alt. Leather reach their goal of a more environmentally friendly future for fashion for a number of years and is excited to work with her on this exciting stage of going global.

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