US – Alternative protein company Nature’s Fynd has raised US$350 million in a Series C round funding led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, more than tripling the funding it’s raised to date, according to a report by Crunchbase.
Nature’s Fynd said it will use the money to accelerate growth by expanding production capacity, developing partnerships, laying the foundation for global expansion, and adding new products to its portfolio.
The company, specializing in the production of fermented protein, is yet to have products in the market but plans a limited rollout later this year and a nationwide launch and international expansion in 2022.
Nature’s Fynd, previously known as Sustainable Bioproducts, makes products from Fy, a fungi-derived protein from a microbe that was discovered in a geothermal spring in Yellowstone National Park.
The company has spent the last several years developing Fy protein into different types of products, even selling a limited amount of Fy protein-based breakfast sausage and cream cheese packs on its website in February.
This product pack reportedly sold out in 24 hours and provided proof that there was a demand for Nature’s Fynd’s products prompting the company to grow its Fy protein at commercial scale in a state-of-the-art facility in Chicago’s Union Stockyards.
This funding in addition to two previous ones amounting to US$125 million brings the company closer to the point where its products are on store shelves and restaurant menus.
While the pandemic has left many businesses dealing with tighter finances, food tech, in general, has seen record-breaking levels of investment.
In 2020, US$3.1 billion was invested in alternative protein companies, according to The Good Food Institute with close to US$590 million going to companies like Nature’s Fynd, which use fermentation to produce alternative protein products.
With more funding coming this year, it appears that trend is continuing. Food Dive reports that so far, this is the largest single funding round for an alternative protein company this year.
It is also the largest for a fermentation company in recent history, beating the US$300 million that animal-free dairy maker Perfect Day received in its extended Series C round in 2019 and 2020.
Megan Poinski of FoodDive is of the opinion that if Nature’s find products hit the market and be a success with consumers, the investment could pay off — both in terms of finances and in environmental impact.
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