Fungi Protein Food Tech Nature’s Fynd Bags US$45M, Brings On Cargill & Bel Brand Execs To Lead 2021 Launch
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Nature’s Fynd, the Chicago-based food tech that has won the backing of big names like Bill Gates and Jack Ma, has announced that it has raised US$45 million and added a number of food industry veterans to its team as part of its acceleration plans. Among the new members to join Nature’s Fynd are former executives and food scientists from ADM, Bel Brands, Cargill and KIND Snacks, ahead of the startup’s ambitions to launch its fungi protein products on the market next year.
Nature’s Fynd has announced on Tuesday (December 8) that it has raised US$45 million in additional investment from Oxford Finance and Trinity Capital, which will help propel its go-to-market plans for 2021 and introduce more product offerings. As part of its acceleration strategy, the food tech has also brought in a number of new players with a combined experience of more than 60 years in the big food industry.
Founded in 2012 and recently rebranded from Sustainable Bioproducts in March this year, Nature’s Fynd was born out of microbial research conducted for NASA in Yellowstone National Park. The startup’s technology produces a complete plant-based fungi protein dubbed Fy, which requires far fewer resources than traditional animal-based proteins.
Today, we’ve announced the hiring of several top food industry experts who will significantly advance the commercial success of our products. We’re at a pivotal moment where changing the way we all eat to take better care of our health and to care for our planet is crucial.Thomas Jonas, Co-Founder & CEO, Nature’s Fynd
The latest funding brings the company’s total financing to more than US$150 million, following shortly on from its US$80 million Series B earlier this year, which saw notable investment from former United States vice president Al Gore to add to its impressive list of existing investors that includes Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma.
The new team members include Baljit Singh Ghotra, former vice president of food research at ADM with a PhD in grain science and technology, who will join as SVP of food innovation at Nature’s Fynd; as well as Emilie Runac as the marketing director at the food tech. Runac previously worked at dairy giant Bel Brands and led the North American launch of the group’s iconic products like Mini Babybel.
Using Fy, our nutritional fungi protein, we’ve made foods that contain a complete protein and have an extremely low carbon footprint.Thomas Jonas, Co-Founder & CEO, Nature’s Fynd
Pat Dalugdug, formerly at KIND Snacks, Danone and Bulletproof will be bringing his experience to Nature’s Fynd as the director of sales; accompanied by Tom Frey, a renowned expert in design and fermentation technologies at Cargill, who will use his knowledge to help Nature’s Fynd scale production as the director of project engineering.
“Today, we’ve announced the hiring of several top food industry experts who will significantly advance the commercial success of our products. We’re at a pivotal moment where changing the way we all eat to take better care of our health and to care for our planet is crucial,” said co-founder and CEO of Nature’s Fynd Thomas Jonas in a statement.
“Using Fy, our nutritional fungi protein, we’ve made foods that contain a complete protein and have an extremely low carbon footprint. Now Nature’s Fynd needs to bring these delicious foods to market so we can all be part of the solution to climate change.”
The startup has previously signalled its ambitions to launch its products in Asia, with its key target being the Chinese market, where livestock diseases like the African swine fever and the coronavirus pandemic has brought about greater interest in the stability, sustainability and safety of plant-based meat alternatives.
Nature’s Fynd said at the time that it was already beginning to seek regulatory approval in mainland China and in Hong Kong, and will be adapting its fungi-based protein into Asian dishes to gear up for expansion in the region. In its domestic market, it is scaling up production and will be launching retail next year.
All images courtesy of Nature’s Fynd.