After receiving $18 million in funding to support its mission of producing high-quality, eco-friendly materials, United Kingdom based Startup ELeather, the world’s sole manufacturer of sustainable recycled leather at scale, is rebranding itself as Gen Phoenix. The new name, inspired by the cyclical regeneration of the mythical phoenix, reflects the company’s aim of transforming discarded leather into an eco-conscious alternative.
Gen Phoenix is committed to developing next-generation materials that are environmentally friendly and will offer practical solutions to its brand partners as they work towards achieving their sustainability objectives. The name is a nod to the company’s vision of ushering in a new era of sustainable materials.
Material Impact, a venture capital firm, led the recent investment round of $18 million, which included participation from InMotion Ventures (the investment arm of Jaguar Land Rover), Dr. Martens, and Tapestry, the luxury brand holding company that includes Coach, Stuart Weitzman, and Kate Spade. ETF Partners and the Hermes GPE Environmental Innovation Fund, existing investors, also contributed to the funding round to support Gen Phoenix’s growth plans.
John Kennedy, CEO of Gen Phoenix (formerly known as ELeather), expressed his excitement at partnering with a consortium of like-minded, sustainability-focused partners from various sectors. He also stated that the company is eager to expand its circularity vision to new markets, and provide customers, strategic partners, and end consumers with top-quality circular materials.
Gen Phoenix Forms Strategic Partnerships with Material Impact, Dr. Martens, InMotion Ventures, and Tapestry
Gen Phoenix announced that the investment infusion will drive the company’s expansion into new consumer-facing luxury fashion and footwear categories through future partnerships with top consumer brands looking to provide eco-conscious customers with high-quality, sustainable products. This investment will enable Gen Phoenix to refresh its offerings and increase its market reach.
Kenny Wilson, CEO of Dr. Martens, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, saying that it aligns with their broader strategy of prioritizing the sustainability of their products, their impact on the environment, and their treatment of people. Wilson also emphasized their commitment to integrating more sustainable and traceable materials into their products without sacrificing quality, style, comfort, or durability. Gen Phoenix’s tech platform will assist them in introducing sustainable materials into various parts of their product lines and achieving their goal of making all their footwear from sustainable materials and reaching Net Zero by 2040.
Gen Phoenix plans to invest in expanding its product range beyond recycled leather waste. The company aims to utilize its patented technology to create new leather alternatives, including plant-based, post-industrial, and post-consumer waste leather. Its newly constructed state-of-the-art facility, which can produce up to six million square meters of material annually, will facilitate this expansion.
Furthermore, the company intends to strengthen its partnerships with existing clients in the transportation industry, which currently includes more than 250 airlines, rail, and bus companies. Additionally, Gen Phoenix will establish new collaborations in the automotive interior sector. The company’s sustainable recycled leather has already been used to create over four million seat covers worldwide, resulting in the diversion of more than 8,000 tons of leather waste from landfills.
According to Amy Frascella, the director of materiality at Jaguar Land Rover for design, strategy, and sustainability, collaborating with large-scale innovative companies such as Gen Phoenix is crucial in achieving their goal of providing sustainable modern luxury. She emphasized the importance of seeking uncompromised innovation in the areas of materials, processes, and technology to uphold the social, environmental, and economic standards their clients anticipate. Frascella also stated that investing in and preserving new material technologies would assist them in reaching their carbon net-zero target by 2039.
Under the agreement, Material Impact, which spearheaded the funding round, announced that its operating partner, Paul Deninger, would become the chairman of the board at Gen Phoenix to aid the company in its next phase of development.
Regarding the investment, Deninger stated, “At Material Impact, we look for disruptive technologies that can solve significant problems quickly or in the near future. Gen Phoenix stands out in terms of its groundbreaking innovation, product effectiveness, competitive pricing, market demand, and scalability, all essential elements for a company that aims to bring about significant transformation in the next-generation materials sector.”