Silicon Valley biotech start-up introduces Mylo™, a mycelium-based leather alternative, to the Netherlands.
A start-up from Silicon Valley, Bolt specializes in creating environmentally friendly and sustainable materials for the apparel industry and other consumer products. The Netherlands emerged as Bolt’s clear choice for expanding in Europe, due to the country’s position as a leader in sustainability.
“Bolt’s mission is to deliver way better materials for a better world at scale, and scale plays a critical role here. In order to produce Mylo at large scale, Bolt needed to build a novel supply chain from the ground up; one that can produce millions of square feet of consistent-quality Mylo at a price that is competitive with leather,” said Dan Widmaier, CEO and Founder of Bolt Threads.
As Bolt was considering expansion into Europe, they realized that because of the logistic and operational specifics combined with the local challenges outside help would reduce risks, save time and reduce costs. Via the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) in San Francisco, Bolt was introduced to Oost NL, who helped the innovative company establish in Arnhem by pointing out possible locations, advising on laws and regulations, and connecting Bolt with the local network.
Dutch sustainability offers an excellent match for Bolt
Bolt’s material Mylo, built from the mycelium cells of fungi, has made waves in The New York Times and The Washington Post as an innovative development in the consumer biomaterials industry. The company has well-known partners in the apparel and fashion sector, including Stella McCartney. This year, Bolt announced a new consortium via partnerships with adidas, lululemon, Kering and Stella McCartney to invest in the development and production of Mylo-made products. Products from this unprecedented Mylo consortium will be available for purchase starting in 2021.
Bolt is committed to ensuring that everything it does is environmentally-friendly. As an extension, all of Bolt’s partners must meet top sustainability requirements. The Netherlands proved to be an excellent match for Bolt, given the country’s commitment to sustainability across industry, knowledge institutes and government. For example, the Netherlands has set a goal to achieve a 100% circular economy by 2050. In addition, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the nearby Düsseldorf Airport offer Bolt easy access to the rest of Europe.
“When the time came to open a Bolt European office, the Netherlands was the clear choice” said Widmaier. “We had strong partnerships with businesses already, and the environment for conducting business there as a foreign firm was quite welcoming.”
Bolt ultimately selected Arnhem for its production of Mylo because of the prevalence of mushrooms and mushroom production in the region. Mushrooms are critical to the Dutch agrifood industry – in fact, the Netherlands is the No. 2 exporter of mushrooms worldwide. In addition, Arnhem, with a fashion school (ArtEZ), is known as a fashion city in The Netherlands.