Ecovative Design, a leader in mycelium-based materials science (materials made from mushrooms), received an equity investment from 3M (NYSE: MMM), suggesting the materials manufacturer may one day move into mushroom-based products.
Ecovative has gained attention for selling compostable packaging made from mushrooms to Steelcase Inc. and Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL). We recently reported that Dell is now shipping some of its products in the packaging.
3M (through its 3M New Ventures business) joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and DOEN Foundation in funding the company for an undisclosed amount.
The investment will be used to scale Ecovative's manufacturing operations and accelerate development of its revolutionary, grown polymeric materials.
Founded in 2007, Ecovative produces packaging that can be composted at home and is a cost-competitive replacement for conventional petrochemical foams. The company uses mycelium, or "mushroom roots," as a self-assembling glue.
Ecovative operates a pilot production facility in upstate New York, and plans to expand to new regional manufacturing facilities in the US.
The technology has applications across a variety of industries including packaging, insulation, building products, automotive, and consumer goods.
Dell is using the company's EcoCradle certified mushroom-based packaging. It is grown from agricultural by-products using less energy than existing processes, while offering the performance of traditional foams.
Ecovative's newly-constituted Board of Directors includes veteran business leaders with experience in plastic foams, building materials, licensing, and manufacturing.