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.

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.