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TechCrunch
Oct 26, 2023
Animal-free leather maker Gozen raises $3.3M
Balenciaga LUNAFORM™ Maxi Bathrobe Coat

IndieBio alum Gozen raised $3.3 million in seed funding round led by Happiness Capital, with participation from Accelr8, Astor Management, SOSV. The startup is working on a Turkey-based production facility with capacity of up to 1 million square feet.

At Paris Fashion Week earlier this year, Gozen partnered with Balenciaga to unveil LUNAFORM™, a lower-impact leather alternative. The animal and plastic-free textile is grown from fermented nanocellulose.

Unlike plant leathers—which are typically composed of a mixture of materials—LUNAFORM™ is created from a single process, enabling its tensile strength to surpass that of plant and mycelium-based materials. With a thickness starting from just 0.2 mm, it is stronger and finer than traditional animal leather and features a natural drape and softness that sets it apart from existing alternatives.

Ece Gozen, founder and CEO of GOZEN told TechCrunch in an interview: “I was super obsessed with science, so six years ago, I just quit my job and worked on creating the habitat for these microorganisms. We are using a fermentation transplantation system which creates the material in just 10 days. The formulation becomes solid, so we then harvest that. This is microbial cellulose, a different type of cellulose.”

Po Bronson, Managing Director of SOSV’s IndieBio, Gozen’s first investor, added in a statement: “There is a lot of competition now in animal free leather. But I believed that Gozen’s approach could surpass all others in both performance and economics.”

Gozen plans to disrupt not only fashion, but the automotive industry as well.