Next-gen material startups are the engines of progress in our material economy. Learn about our Innovation team’s work with these visionary startups, meet our Chief Innovation Officer, and explore recent reports.

Fostering Connections and Driving Innovation

Our Innovation team works to build and accelerate the next-gen materials ecosystem by sharing industry insights, igniting funding interests, and creating connections. 


We create leading industry resources freely to help stakeholders understand the state of the industry, analyze whitespace opportunities, jump start formation of startups, and provide data and insights in the language of investors to boost funding into innovation in this space.

Our experts serve as a nexus for collaboration in the business community, forging impactful partnerships amongst entrepreneurs, corporates, and investors to accelerate innovation and growth of next-gen materials. We essentially play matchmaker among innovators, startups, venture capitalists, and brands to make deals happen and smooth the path from concept to commercialization.

How to Work With Us

Whether you are an innovator, startup founder, investor, brand, or other material industry stakeholder, MII’s Innovation department is here to help with understanding this emerging next-gen materials industry. Our Innovation team publishes reports and participates in conferences and events to broadly disseminate the latest data and insights of the next-gen materials industry. Alongside the SciTech department, we track the latest innovation emerging from next-gen material suppliers, keeping tabs on the latest industry trends, and categories of material innovation (see our Innovator Profiles). Our publicly available reports and web content offer insight into the industry trends, market insights, and the opportunities and challenges in creating the new material bioeconomy. 


For detailed analysis on the next-gen materials industry, read our latest State of the Industry Report.


In addition to publicly available resources, the Innovation department provides limited, free business consulting to next-gen companies working on sustainable alternatives to leather, silk, wool, down, fur, and exotic skins. Here we can assist with:

- reviewing pitch decks

- connections to investors

- connections to fashion, automotive, and home goods brands

- evaluating and providing feedback on swatches


We also provide individualized support for investors such as strategic calls to share our insights and perspectives, connecting with innovators and startups, and help in navigating the next-gen material landscapes. 

For more information, please fill out the inquiry form here and note your interest in the services of the Innovation department.

“Since its founding, MII has been a valuable resource for Natural Fiber Welding. A trusted guide, they’ve helped us navigate the alternative leather landscape in a way that leads to delivering on the values of potential brand partners. With innovative approaches, Nature can provide solutions that care for the whole planet – plants, animals, and people.”

–Steve Zika, COO, Natural Fiber Welding

Meet Fernanda Mota, Research Coordinator


A professional in Marketing and Communications based in São Paulo, Fernanda has built her career working for a variety of industries, including cosmetics, commercial real estate, hospitality, and food. Her passion for delivering positive experiences to customers and associates make her attentive to innovations and new trends worldwide. She is also a dedicated advocate for a cause dear to her heart: a sustainable and cruelty-free world. She’ll use her language and communications skills to profile material innovators in Europe and South America for MII. 

Meet Elaine Siu, Chief Innovation Officer

MII’s Chief Innovation Officer, Elaine Siu, has worked around the world to build emerging industries that will take animals out of the supply chains. She has advised investors, startups, and corporations on everything from industry trends to business strategies. Ms. Siu has also worked with policymakers to level the playing field for better, animal-free products. Prior to MII, Elaine founded and managed the Good Food Institute’s operation in the Asia-Pacific region, and before that, she was co-leader of what is now Green Monday Ventures in Hong Kong. Elaine has over a decade of experience in corporate and finance law at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, Slaughter and May, and Simmons & Simmons. Elaine leads MII’s work with startups and investors.

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Innovation Advisory Council

MII’s Advisory Councils include a variety of experts from around the world who advise and assist MII’s Board and staff. Our Innovation Advisory Council includes founders, CEOs, Directors, and Partners at major investment and venture capital firms; investors; consultants; and experts in everything from finance and animal law to photography and synthetic biology.

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