Temasek-BlackRock Partnership Invests in Leather Alternatives as First Deal

By David G. Barry

 An entity created a year ago by Temasek and BlackRock, Inc. has made its first investment – backing a biomaterials company developing leather alternatives.

Decarbonization Partners has joined MycoWorks’ $125 million Series C round, which was originally announced earlier this year. Venture firm Prime Movers Lab led the round, which also included SK Networks, Mirabaud Lifestyle & Innovation Fund, DCVC Bio and Novo Holdings.

Based in Emeryville, California, MycoWorks has developed a process that harnesses mycelium – the thread-like network that mushrooms fruit from – to produce a material that it says performs like the finest animal leathers. Its customers include Hermes. MycoWorks is using the round’s capital to launch its first full-scale production plant in South Carolina.

Megan Sharp, global head of Decarbonization Partners, said in a statement that MycoWorks fits with the firm’s mission as the company’s platform “reduces carbon emissions by 10x compared to bovine leather and has a luxurious hand-feel, consistent aesthetic properties and tensile quality to animal leather.”

Temasek, the Singaporean state holding company, and investment firm BlackRock formed Decarbonization Partners to invest in next-generation companies providing solutions and technologies to help accelerate global efforts to achieve a net-zero global economy by 2050. Temasek had Singapore 405 billion ($294 billion) under management in 2021. BlackRock manages some $10 trillion.

In announcing Decarbonization Partners a year ago, the two entities said they intend to commit a combined $600 million in initial capital to invest in multiple funds launched by the partnerships. The plan is to also raise outside capital. Decarbonization was said to be targeting $1 billion for its first fund.

A BlackRock spokesman did not reply to a request for an update on that fund.

Sectors that Decarbonization will invest in include energy, mobility, manufacturing and materials, and what it refers to as the “Built Environment.”