Venture capital firm BMW i Ventures has announced an investment into Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), a company specializing in the production of all-natural, plastic-free alternatives to materials like leather, foam and textiles. The financing round will enable it to scale from the batch processing of materials to commercial roll-to-roll production.
To date, NFW has developed technologies that replace petrochemical-based materials such as synthetic leathers and enable alternative natural inputs to be shaped and molded into a durable, all-natural and fully recyclable alternative leather product named MIRUM.
Alongside the investment by BMW i Ventures, the BMW Group has also said that it intends to form a strategic partnership with NFW to advance the company’s own sustainability goals. With ambitious sustainability targets set to reduce CO2 emissions along its entire value chain, BMW is investigating ways in which to utilize recyclable materials and materials with a lower carbon footprint, while retaining quality and functionality.
“Natural Fiber Welding has developed an innovative process of converting plants into all-natural, 100% recyclable material that mimic all the properties of traditional leather, yarns and foams,” commented Kasper Sage, managing partner, BMW i Ventures. “Having a scalable, cost-competitive alternative to leather with premium qualities is key to further advancing the decarbonization of the automotive industry.”
NFW states that it will continue to investigate and pioneer how the company can offer all-natural materials that are commercially viable over widely used animal- or petrochemical-based products.
“BMW i Ventures’ commitment to high-performance companies across the manufacturing and transportation sector makes them an excellent investor and partner for NFW,” said Luke Haverhals, founder and CEO, NFW. “We are honored to have their support as we continue to expand into new markets, like automotive, where all-natural, performance materials can have a huge impact in decarbonizing and creating a truly sustainable future.”