ELeather, the world’s first and only producer of sustainable recycled leather at scale, is rebranding as Gen Phoenix after securing 18 million US dollars in funding to further its mission to create premium and eco-conscious next-gen materials.
In a statement, ELeather said it will now be called Gen Phoenix, a name inspired by the cyclical regeneration of the phoenix, as it looks to give new life to leather waste by transforming it into a sustainable alternative.
The name adds “ushers in a new generation of materials for the next era of sustainability,” underscoring the company’s commitment to manufacturing environmentally-friendly next-gen materials to offer its brand partners tangible solutions to their sustainability goals.
The 18 million US dollars investment was led by venture capital firm Material Impact with participation from Dr. Martens and InMotion Ventures, the investment arm of Jaguar Land Rover, and Tapestry, which includes luxury brands 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.
John Kennedy, chief executive of Gen Phoenix, formerly known as ELeather, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with a consortium of like-minded, sustainability-focused partners across a variety of sectors.
“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.”
Gen Phoenix partners with Material Impact, Dr. Martens, InMotion Ventures, and Tapestry
Gen Phoenix said that the investment-backed refresh will fuel market expansion into new consumer-facing luxury fashion and footwear categories through future partnerships with leading consumer brands looking to offer premium, sustainable products to their increasingly eco-conscious customer.
Kenny Wilson, chief executive of Dr. Martens, added: “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.
“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.”
Another key area of investment for Gen Phoenix is expanding its product offering beyond recycling leather waste. The company said it is looking at ways to apply its patent technology to create new leather alternatives, including those that are plant-based, as well as post-industrial and post-consumer waste leather. This will be achieved in its recently built state-of-the-art facility that can produce six million square meters of material per year.
In addition, Gen Phoenix will deepen its relationships with existing partners in the transportation industry, which includes more than 250 airline, rail and bus customers, while forging new connections in the automotive interior space. Gen Phoenix’s sustainable recycled leather has been used on over four million seat covers worldwide, saving over 8,000 tons of leather waste from landfill.
Amy Frascella, materiality director at Jaguar Land Rover design, strategy and sustainability, added: “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.”
As part of the deal, Material Impact, who led the funding round, confirmed that its operating partner Paul Deninger would join Gen Phoenix as chairman of the board to assist the company in the next phase of its growth.
On the investment, Deninger said: “At Material Impact we seek out transformational technologies that can have immediate or near-term impact on large-scale problems. 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.”