Kering invests in Italian bio-produced materials specialist Sqim (Mogu)

Kering invests in Italian bio-produced materials specialist Sqim (Mogu)

Translated by

Nicola Mira


Jan 10, 2024

Kering is keenly interested in Italian start-up Sqim, also known as Mogu. Through Kering Ventures, its venture-capital arm, the French luxury group has backed the Italian start-up specialised in materials bio-produced using mycelium (sourced from mushroom roots) in the latter’s first major funding round. Sqim has raised a total of €11 million in capital, through Kering and other investors like CDP Venture Capital, the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF VC), and Progress Tech Transfer.

Sqim specialises in materials bio-produced using mycelium –

“The funding round was led by CDP Venture Capital and co-led by ECBF VC, with a key participation by Kering Ventures and existing shareholder Progress Tech Transfer,” said Sqim in a press release. As a result of the funding round, “the investors have taken equity stakes” in Sqim, added the company. Kering has not disclosed the value of its investment.

In 2023, Sqim won the Innovation Prize at the prestigious ANDAM competition. The company was founded in 2015 in Inarzo, near Varese, north of Milan, and is led by Maurizio Montalti, president and head of R&D, and CEO Stefano Babbini. It explores the potential of mycelium-related technologies, developing new materials that can be utilised in a variety of sectors. The environmental impact of producing such materials is negligible compared to the impact of manufacturing traditional materials, notably in terms of water consumption, energy and land use, and CO2 emissions.

After starting out with Mogu, a company that produces acoustic panels for the interiors architecture and ecological construction sector, Sqim launched ephea, a family of new materials ideally suited for the fashion industry. Ephea is bio-produced from pure mycelium, and was first introduced on the market at the end of 2022, to make a hooded, leather-effect maxi coat exclusively for Balenciaga, a label owned by Kering.

The capital raised will, according to Sqim, enable the company to boost its technology platform, accelerate the new materials’ industrial scaling-up process, enhance R&D activity, and strengthen the team. The company name is still Mogu srl, but once the funding operation will be finalised, it will change officially to Sqim.

“The innovative alternative developed by Sqim can contribute to expanding our range of high-quality materials. In addition to our in-house labs, Kering’s staff is keen on building an external ecosystem of innovators and companies, so that these innovations can be adopted on a larger scale,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer at Kering.

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