September 13, 2021
Investments & Acquisitions
Japanese biotech firm Spiber raised $ 312 million in a funding round led by private equity firm Carlyle. Managers Fidelity and Baillie Gifford also contributed to the round.
Spiber says he will use the funding to build a mass production plant in Iowa. The company also told Reuters that it is planning an IPO, although that is likely still a few years away.
Spiber develops its products using fermentation to form polymers of plant origin. These polymers can then be used to make vegan versions of fabrics such as spider silk, wool, cashmere, leather, fur, and even tortoise shell. Unlike many animal-free fibers, Spiber products do not depend on crude oil and are biodegradable.
Late last year, Spiber teamed up with Japanese sports brand Goldwin to produce sweaters with their ‘Brewed Protein’. The two companies had previously worked together to make parkas from vegan spider silk. Spiber also worked with automaker Lexus to produce ergonomic, silk-reinforced seats without animals.
Spiber is one of a very small number of “unicorns” – startups valued at over $ 1 billion – in Japan. Lead investor Carlyle has said he will allocate a significant portion of his buyout fund to help fund these startups.
“We believe we can help them grow their businesses, through mergers and acquisitions and overseas expansions, to an extent large enough to make their debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange board or in abroad, “he told Reuters.
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