How this startup went from producing a synthetic spider silk to partnering with fashion icons

  • Bolt Threads is a biotech company based in Emeryville, California, that produces sustainable materials to supply the apparel industry.
  • Among these materials are a synthetic spider silk called Microsilk, developed without the help of spiders, and a newly-announced synthetic leather material called Mylo derived from the root structure of mushrooms.
  • The company’s mission and materials have garnered attention from the fashion industry and landed it partnerships with brands such as Patagonia, Best Made and Stella McCartney.

The production of Bolt Threads’ synthetic spider silk material has nothing to do with actual spiders.

The venture-backed biotech startup launched in 2009 and specialises in the vegan material, dubbed Microsilk, which has landed the Emeryville, California, company on the map in recent years.

CEO Dan Widmaier and a team of fellow scientists studied how spiders make silk to try and replicate that process using DNA samples similar to that of the arachnids. The silk fibres that spiders make are durable, soft, and can withstand a high degree of tension without breaking, similar to steel. Read more

Katie Canales – Business Insider Australia – 20 May 2018