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December 10, 2020updated 01 Sep 2021 3:49pm

US alt-protein start-up Nature’s Fynd bags more funding

The Chicago-based company, which is developing alternatives to meat and dairy products using microbial fermentation, has also hired execs from ADM and Cargill.

US start-up Nature’s Fynd, which is developing alternatives to meat and dairy products using microbial fermentation, has raised more funding to speed up the launch of its products.

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The Chicago-based firm, which in the past has attracted investment from Danone, has raised US$45m of “ven­ture debt and equip­ment financ­ing com­mit­ments” from US finance firm Oxford Finance and venture-debt financing group Trin­i­ty Cap­i­tal. That brings the amount raised by Nature’s Fynd so far to $158m.

The company said the funds would give it “the flex­i­bil­i­ty to accel­er­ate go-to-mar­ket strate­gies, intro­duce more prod­uct offer­ings, and ensure opti­mal cap­i­tal effi­cien­cy for cap­i­tal expen­di­ture pur­chas­es”. The firm is looking to launch its products next year.

Nature’s Fynd, meanwhile, has also hired a clutch of executives from companies including the agri-food giants ADM and Cargill.

“We’ve announced the hiring of several top food industry experts who will significantly advance the commercial success of our products,” Nature’s Fynd co-founder and CEO Thomas Jonas said. “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. Using Fy, our nutritional fungi protein, we’ve made foods that contain a complete protein and have an extremely low carbon footprint.”

Fy is the trademarked name of the fungi protein Nature’s Fynd is using to develop branded products. The protein comes from a microbe originally discovered in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone. Nature’s Fynd says the fermentation technology uses a fraction of the land and water used in traditional agriculture.

ADM executive Baljit Singh Gho­tra has joined Nature’s Fynd as senior vice president of food inno­va­tion. Dr. Gho­tra was vice pres­i­dent of food research at the US multinational, where he worked for four years after joining from Cargill.

Tom Frey, who spent 16 years at Cargill, has been appointed director of project engineering at Nature’s Fynd.

Pat Dalugdug has joined the start-up as director of sales from US snacks group Kind, while Emile Runac, a former executive at French cheese giant Groupe Bel, has been named director of manufacturing.

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Disruptive start-ups to watch out for

2021 was a record-breaking year, with more businesses breaking into the billion-dollar club. Many start-ups have achieved or retained the unicorn status by the end of the year to reflect nearly a fivefold growth from that in 2020. This boom can be linked to a financing frenzy spurred by the quick adoption of technology and innovative solutions by start-ups gaining traction in response to the pandemic. However, the start-up ecosystem is now facing turbulent times for fundraising as investors seek long-term business strategies, valuations, and a route to profitability amid uncertain market circumstances. Nevertheless, 2022 has the potential to carry forward the momentum with multiple entities having a fair chance of being in the right place when aided by the right technologies. GlobalData leverages the power of alternative data to examine the health of start-ups across multiple dimensions including the quality of their innovations, market presence, and the funding they can attract. This helps our clients to analyze the disruptive potential of start-ups for early alliances, investments, and acquisition prospects to develop future-proof strategic roadmaps for a competitive advantage. Read our report and gather insights on the following topics:
  • Recent Unicorn trends
  • Unicorns in 2022
  • Future Unicorns
  • Start-ups to watch out for
Start-up ecosystem outlook by top geographies
by GlobalData
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