HomeFundingLondon-based Arda Biomaterials raises €1.3 million to transform fashion with leather made...

London-based Arda Biomaterials raises €1.3 million to transform fashion with leather made from beer

Arda Biomaterials, an English clean tech startup on a mission to transform waste into a valuable, animal and plastic-free leather alternatives has received a major boost with a €1.3 million new investment led by Clean Growth Fund. Also participated in the round Plug and Play, Serpentine Ventures, Satgana, and a group of angel investors from alternative protein, fashion, and the climate tech ecosystem.

According to the startup, they expect in the next twelve months to have reached a finished material that can be sold to brands for the consumer market.

Leveraging chemistry and materials science, Arda’s first transformation is turning the waste barley grain from the beer brewing industry into a leather alternative for use in the fashion, home goods, automotive industry, and more. 

They call their novel material New Grain™.  Arda’s new material has so far been entirely plastic-free in its development with biodegradability tests soon to be completed. New Grain™ supports the journey towards Net Zero and by using waste materials, such as brewery waste, Arda advances the development of the Circular Economy.

Susannah McClintock, Investment Director of Clean Growth Fund, says: “We are delighted to invest in Arda Biomaterials and support the commercial development of their work: it’s a truly innovative solution to a significant environmental challenge. Arda’s technology has the potential to disrupt traditional leather production and significantly reduce the environmental impact of highly polluting sectors. We look forward to working with Brett, Edward, and the team to help bring this exciting technology to market.”

Arda was founded in 2022 by Edward TJ Mitchell and Brett Cotten, who met through Entrepreneur First, the global talent investor. Edward holds a PhD in chemistry, and Brett has worked across the alternative protein sector from startups to investors. The company, located in ‘The Leather Market’ building near London Bridge, is currently working with breweries along the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’ in South London, which was once the leather tanning district of the City of London.

In March 2023, the company was shortlisted in the H&M Global Change Award that heralds planet-positive ideas that will reinvent fashion and change the way it is seen, worn, and made. Currently, the company is displaying some of its early innovations at Fabrica X, part of the techstyle and agrifood community The Mills Fabrica, close to London’s King’s Cross.

Edward TJ Mitchell, CTO of Arda, says: “The advent of cheap plastics wiped out a century of innovation in using natural inputs to make materials. Now, with sustainability in mind, we are discovering that the natural world has all the building blocks needed to create marvellous and sustainable materials. The production of leather is particularly resource intensive and the current alternatives are riddled with plastic. The chemical composition in waste grain is uniquely suited to be transformed into a material that can resemble many of the properties of leather and more.”

Brett Cotten, CEO of Arda, stated: Many people believe leather is a by-product of cows; it’s really more of a co-product that subsidises the continuation of animal agriculture. The spent grain from breweries is typically burned, sent to landfill, anaerobically digested into gas, or fed to animals as cheap feed – all very low-value use cases. I am thrilled that we can skip the cow to create a truly novel product that to date has been 100% animal and plastic-free. Now we can drink our beer and wear it too. This financing round led by Clean Growth Fund will allow us to get to a finished material that we can begin selling to brands and put into consumers’ hands. I can’t wait to see others wearing it.”

Stefano De Marzo
Stefano De Marzo
Stefano De Marzo is the Head of News at EU-Startups. He has been extensively covering startups, venture capital and innovation ecosystems, including contributions to numerous publications such as Sifted, Entrepreneur and Forbes. Through his work as an editor and writer, he continues to shape the narrative surrounding the best stories of the tech world.

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