Gen Phoenix, the leading producer of sustainable recycled leather at scale, is announcing $18M in funding to further the company’s mission to create premium and eco-conscious next-gen materials. The investment was led by venture capital firm Material Impact, with participation from Dr. Martens, InMotion Ventures, the investment arm of Jaguar Land Rover, and Tapestry, the house of modern luxury lifestyle brands that include Coach, Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade. The funding round also includes existing investors ETF Partners and the Hermes GPE Environmental Innovation Fund, who continue to support the company’s growth plans.
Launched in 2007, Gen Phoenix – formerly known as ELeather – has over fifteen years of experience manufacturing sustainable recycled leather and pioneering circularity at scale. In a category that for others is defined by future hypotheticals, Gen Phoenix serves brand partners in search of tangible solutions to their sustainability goals.
Inspired by the cyclical regeneration of the phoenix, Gen Phoenix gives new life to leather waste by transforming it into a sustainable alternative. The name ushers in a new generation of materials for the next era of sustainability and underscores the company’s commitment to manufacturing environmentally-friendly next-gen materials. The latest round of funding will bolster growth for the business and further efforts to meaningfully tackle the world’s waste problem.
“We’re thrilled to be working with a consortium of like-minded, sustainability-focused partners across a variety of sectors,” says Gen Phoenix CEO John Kennedy. “We look forward to extending our vision of circularity to new markets and providing our customers, strategic partners and end consumers with best-in-class circular materials.”
Key Areas of Investment
- Reaching new partners: This funding will fuel market expansion into the luxury fashion and footwear categories through future partnerships with leading consumer brands that share Gen Phoenix’s sustainability values and are committed to offering premium, sustainable products to their increasingly eco-conscious customer.
- “This is an exciting partnership and supports our wider strategy that focuses on the sustainability of our products, our impact on the planet and how we treat people,” said Kenny Wilson, CEO of Dr. Martens. “A key part of this strategy is integrating more sustainable and traceable materials without compromising quality, style, comfort, or durability. Gen Phoenix’s tech platform will allow us to introduce materials into parts of our ranges that will help us progress our commitment for all our footwear to be made from sustainable materials and achieving Net Zero by 2040.”
- “Tapestry is working toward a better-made future, one that brings together responsibility and sustainability with Tapestry’s brand legacy of timeless craftsmanship and iconic design,” said Scott Roe, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Tapestry. “Key to this future is innovation in materials that let us continue to create products that our customers know and trust with a reduced environmental impact. Advancing circularity through materials including recycled leather is not only an integral part of our portfolio approach to developing a responsible supply chain, but a business imperative.”
- Deepening current relationships: Gen Phoenix will double down on efforts to support existing partnerships in the mass transportation industry, including over 250 airline, rail and bus customers, while attracting new strategic partners in the automotive interiors space. Gen Phoenix’s sustainable recycled leather has been used on over 4 million seat covers worldwide, and has saved over 8,000 tons of leather waste from landfill, helping its strategic brand partners achieve their sustainability goals.
- “I am proud that our fund, InMotion Ventures, has invested in Gen Phoenix: a long-time collaborator of JLR Design,” said Amy Frascella, Materiality Director, Jaguar Land Rover Design, Strategy & Sustainability. “Co-creation with exceptional scale-ups like Gen Phoenix is fundamental to delivering our vision of sustainable modern luxury. In Design we continually strive for uncompromised innovation within materials, processes and technology that promote the social, environmental and economic values that our clients expect. Investing in, and sustaining, new material technologies will support our journey to carbon net zero by 2039.”
- Scaling product innovations: Another key area of investment is the expansion of product offerings beyond recycling leather waste. Gen Phoenix will innovate new ways of applying the company’s patented technology – which has the capacity to produce 6 million square meters of material per year out of the company’s recently built state-of-the-art facility – to create next-gen materials at scale, using post-industrial and post-consumer waste, leather offcuts, and plant-based feedstock.
Material Impact, who led the round, sees its investment in Gen Phoenix as core to its thesis of building deep tech companies powered by material science that solve enduring, large-scale, real-world problems. Paul Deninger, Operating Partner at Material Impact, joins Gen Phoenix as Chairman of the Board. Paul’s successful track record of driving industry leading companies to scale is a tremendous asset to Gen Phoenix as the company steps into its next phase of growth.
“At Material Impact we seek out transformational technologies that can have immediate or near-term impact on large-scale problems,” says Paul Deninger. “Gen Phoenix is in a category of its own when it comes to innovation, product performance, price parity, market traction and scale, all critical components for a business that aims to drive meaningful change in the next-gen materials space.”
About Generation Phoenix
Generation Phoenix (Gen Phoenix) is delivering a new generation of materials for the next era of sustainability. Through a revolutionary circular process, Gen Phoenix rescues leather offcuts destined for landfill and regenerates them into a premium recycled leather material coveted by the world’s most iconic brands for its beauty and durability. Since 2007, Gen Phoenix has diverted thousands of tons of material from landfills. Adaptable to a wide variety of feedstocks, Gen Phoenix’s patented technology platform will make material circularity possible at an epic scale. For more information, please visit http://www.genphoenix.com.
About Material Impact
Material Impact is a champion of the bravest ideas for the future, building deep tech companies powered by material science that solve enduring, large-scale, real-world problems. Learn more at http://www.materialimpact.com.
About Dr. Martens
Dr. Martens is an iconic British brand founded in 1960 in Northamptonshire. Produced originally for workers looking for tough, durable boots, the brand was quickly adopted by diverse youth subcultures and associated musical movements. Dr. Martens has since transcended its working-class roots while still celebrating its proud heritage and, six decades later, “Docs” or “DM’s” are worn by people around the world who use them as a symbol of empowerment and their own individual attitude. The Company is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. For more information, please visit https://www.drmartens.com/us/en/.
About InMotion Ventures
InMotion Ventures is the Corporate Venture Capital arm of Jaguar Land Rover, and a core component of the business’ Open Innovation strategy. The fund invests in startups from seed stage through to series B, across electrification, connectivity, digital services, intelligent enterprise, sustainability, talent and metaverse. Notable past investments include Lyft (exited in 2019), Ascend Elements, Circulor, Envisics and Bumper. To find out more about InMotion: https://www.inmotionventures.com/.
About Tapestry, Inc.
Our global house of brands unites the magic of Coach, kate spade new york and Stuart Weitzman. Each of our brands are unique and independent, while sharing a commitment to innovation and authenticity defined by distinctive products and differentiated customer experiences across channels and geographies. We use our collective strengths to move our customers and empower our communities, to make the fashion industry more sustainable, and to build a company that’s equitable, inclusive, and diverse. Individually, our brands are iconic. Together, we can stretch what’s possible. To learn more about Tapestry, please visit www.tapestry.com. The Company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TPR.