Bucha Bio’s Biodegradable Textile Could Replace Leather and Latex

“As a material designer, I am always curious about new processes. Inspired by nature, made in the lab, Bucha’s grown materials have an unexpected beauty.”

You may have heard talk of plant-based alternatives being essential to the prosperity of our world. When you hear these sentiments, your mind probably wanders to plant-based diets and giving up meat. Bucha Bio, Inc. has a different approach in mind. 

As a collective, we still use animal products outside of the kitchen – from fashion to furniture. Zimri T. Hinshaw started a biotech company with the intention of designing and selling petrochemical-free materials as a leather alternative for use in the fashion industry. After initial success, he decided this had greater potential and shifted gears to create a plant-based, sustainable, customizable material that could replace anything from leather to latex.

With an initial startup process of growing and drying sheets of kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) in his dorm room, the company has since scaled production up. Through serious R&D, and over 20 different iterations, they have developed a production system that consumes minimal water and emits no greenhouse gasses or toxic waste products. 

This material can be grown in a matter of weeks, a significant improvement when compared to the years, energy, and products required to raise an animal to an appropriate size.

This process has led Bucha Bio to the creation of their Shorai™ material, made from bacterial nanocellulose and 100% plant-based components. The textile is completely biodegradable with no petrochemical or plastic additives. In addition to this impressive feat, the textile is water-resistant, scratch-resistant, sunlight-resistant, and flame-resistant.

In addition to a $250,000 investment from SOSV’s IndieBio accelerator in New York City, Hinshaw recently raised $550,000 from New Climate Ventures, along with other VCs and angel investors.

Are you developing new software for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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