Singapore-based lab-grown exotic leather producer ProjectEx, said Wednesday it aims to raise $1 million for its pre-seed round to revolutionize the luxury market with sustainable and cruelty-free exotic leather.

ProjectEx said in a statement its founders Cellivate Technologies chief executive officer Dr. Viknish Krishnan-Kutty, and Adrian Furstenburg have announced that they are raising their pre-seed round of $1 million.

The funding will enable ProjectEx to hire a core team of experts, and to develop pieces of leather from animal skin as their minimum viable product (MVP).

The company expects to launch its first exotic leather sheets within 18-24 months after raising the Pre-Seed funding. Scaling and commercialization will follow thereafter.

ProjectEx has been launched in Singapore through an exclusive partnership between Singapore-based handbag designer Adrian Furstenburg and deep-tech startup Cellivate Technologies.

“At ProjectEx, our goal is to change the way luxury products are produced and starting with that, have an impact on the rest of the notoriously wasteful fashion industry,

“Our vision is to create luxury without cruelty, and by using our technology, we know that this is possible,” said Dr Krishan-Kutty.

“We are thrilled to have started our round of pre-seed funding and potential investors are just as excited to come on this journey with us,

“ProjectEx is not only developing skin, but reducing the environmental impact through innovative ways of tanning, coloring and finishing the product,” he added.

ProjectEx is breaking new ground in the global market. Unlike other cell-based leather companies, the firm is focusing on exotic leathers using its own proprietary technologies.

“As a designer who works with leather, I know firsthand the impact that the industry has on the environment and animal welfare,

“Sustainability is not just a buzzword anymore – it’s an urgent need,

“The luxury market, which has often been criticised for its environmental and social impact, is recognizing this and making efforts to move towards more sustainable practices,” said ProjectEx’s Co-Founder Adrian Furstenburg.

As consumers become more aware of the impact of their choices, he said they are increasingly demanding ethical and
environmentally friendly products.

He believes that the future of luxury lies in the hands of those who are willing to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of the planet.

According to the statement, ProjectEx is already in talks with leading luxury brands under the LVMH, Kering, and Richemont groups, with a strong level of interest expressed by them.

The company’s advisory board includes industry experts such as Albert Koh from the Koh family, who sold Heng Long tannery to LVMH, and Stanislas de Quercize, the former global Chief Executive Officer of Cartier and current board member of luxury brand Christian Louboutin.

ProjectEx is the brainchild of Cellivate Technologies’ founder Dr. Viknish Krishnan-Kutty and Adrian Furstenburg, the award-winning founder of the eponymous luxury leather goods brand.

Combining science and technology with luxury designs, these industry experts share a passion for sustainability and have embarked on developing a tech-led solution to produce lab-grown leather.

The brand’s proprietary lab-grown leather offers a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional leather. It is produced using a combination of biotechnology and synthetic biology, eliminating the need for animal slaughter.

A spin-off from the National University of Singapore, Cellivate Technologies was founded in 2019 as a deep-tech startup with proprietary platform technologies/products that enable cellular meat companies to accelerate the growth of cells.

The business intent is to reduce unethical animal slaughter and greenhouse emissions.

The Cellivate Technologies’ platform translates to different cell culture applications, with its latest being a unique and proprietary process to grow animal skin for developing cultivated lab grown leather.

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