Dealflow | February 27, 2020

Dealflow: $17 million for mushroom leather, Renewal Funds invests in Olea Edge, prison education startup raises, Buffalo plans environmental impact bond

The team at


Greetings! Here’s the latest impact investing deal news.

MycoWorks raises $17 million for sustainable alt-leather. The San Francisco-based company makes a durable “mushroom leather” that it touts as being both animal- and plastic-free. The company raised its Series A round from the “bio fund” of venture capital firm DCVC, along with Novo Holdings, 8VC, Future Tech Labs, AgFunder, Susa Ventures, Cthulhu Ventures and Wireframe Ventures.

  • Alt-everything. Innovative food startups raised $1 billion in 2019, double the deal volume from 2018. The sector is dominated by consumer-facing food companies like plant-based burger rivals Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. But a growing number of startups like MycoWorks are expanding the space with sustainable and animal-free textiles and food ingredients.
  • New materials. MycoWorks’ alternative materials peers include Denmark’s The Apple Girl, which is making apple-based leather from agricultural waste, and New York-based lab-grown leather company Modern Meadow, which raised $40 million in Series B financing in 2016.
  • More.

Renewal Funds backs water management software company Olea Edge. Austin-based Olea Edge Analytics uses sensors to help municipal water companies manage and distribute city water supplies. Renewal Funds, a Vancouver-based impact investor, led Olea Edge’s $9 million Series B round (see, Renewal Funds closes third impact fund at $109 million). Ananta Family Office and Mercury Fund also invested.

Prison education startup Nucleos attracts investment from founder of Dave’s Killer Bread. Nucleos offers tablet and computer-based education and vocational training programs for people serving time in prison. It raised $250,000 from Dave Dahl, founder of organic bread company Dave’s Killer Bread, who himself served 15 years in prison.

Buffalo gears up for $30 million environmental impact bond. The upstate city is drawing on green infrastructure models in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta to mitigate stormwater runoff, but it is including private properties as well. The city is working with Quantified Ventures, which also helped develop environmental impact bonds for D.C. and Atlanta.

–Feb. 27, 2020