E-Leather, a UK-based high-tech materials technology specialist that manufactures upholstery and cladding for aircraft interiors, has announced that it has raised GB£70 million (US$97 million) from new and existing investors. This funding, led by ETF Partners in partnership with funds managed by Hermes GPE, will be used to invest in a state-of-the-art facility in Peterborough, UK to meet demand from various international industries. According to E-Leather, the factory will allow production to be “significantly increased” from 2019 onwards.
Earlier this year E-Leather entered a long-term strategic innovation partnership with Nike to introduce Nike Flyleather, a new performance material. This engineered leather is made from at least 50% recycled leather fibers and is claimed to be lighter and more durable (based on abrasion testing) than full grain leather. It is manufactured using leather scraps diverted from landfill, which are reconstituted with synthetic materials to create the engineered leather. Creating it uses 90% less water and has an 80% lower carbon footprint than traditional leather manufacturing, according to E-Leather.
The funding will be used to further penetrate what the company estimates to be a GB£80 billion (US$111 billion) global market for engineered leather, by entering new industry verticals, geographies and scaling the use of Nike FlyLeather in footwear and apparel.
Chris McBean, president of E-Leather said, “This is an important milestone in the development of E-Leather, which has become a major success story in high-tech materials manufacturing. The new facilities will extend our global reach, enabling us to offer high performance, environmentally-friendly leather products to new markets, as well as provide existing customers with new applications through product and technology innovation.”