Nanofibrous electrospun poly (ε-caprolactone) (ePCL) scaffolds have inherent structural advantages, but lack of bioactivity has limited their usefulness in biomedical applications. Thus, here we report the development of a hybrid, nanostructured, extracellular matrix (ECM) mimicking scaffold by a combination of ePCL nanofibers and self-assembled peptide amphiphile (PA) nanofibers. The PAs have ECM mimicking characteristics including a cell adhesive ligand (RGDS) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) mediated degradable sites. Transmission electron microscope imaging verified successful PA self-assembly into nanofibers (diameters of 8-10 nm) using a solvent evaporation method. This evaporation method was then used to successfully coat PAs onto ePCL nanofibers (diameters of 300-400 nm), to develop hybrid, bioactive scaffolds. Scanning electron microscope characterization showed that the PA coatings did not interfere with the porous ePCL nanofiber network. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were seeded onto the hybrid scaffolds to evaluate their bioactivity. Significantly greater attachment and spreading of hMSCs were observed on ePCL nanofibers coated with PA-RGDS as compared to ePCL nanofibers coated with PA-S (no cell adhesive ligand) and uncoated ePCL nanofibers. Overall, this novel strategy presents a new solution to overcome the current bioactivity challenges of electrospun scaffolds and combines the unique characteristics of ePCL nanofibers and self-assembled PA nanofibers to provide an ECM mimicking environment. This has great potential to be applied to many different electrospun scaffolds for various biomedical applications. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.