Nature’s Fynd targets Asia for its fungi protein products

The Chicago-based start-up plans to launch its products across the US in 2022 and wants to use its established bases in Singapore and India as a springboard into the continent.

Alternative protein start-up Nature’s Fynd is targeting a 2022 expansion into Asia and across the US, as well as building out its product lines.

The Chicago-based company closed a $350 million Series C led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund II in mid-July and was also supported by Blackstone Strategic Partners, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Danone Manifesto Ventures – the venture arm of the beverage company – among others.

Nature’s Fynd has pioneered the development and production of Fy, a new versatile fungi protein that is grown through fermentation. Fy is produced using a microbe that was discovered in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone National Park, which acts as a “sourdough starter” for its products, chief marketing officer Karuna Rawal told Agri Investor in an email.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park
Geothermal springs of Yellowstone National Park

“Without harming the environment and with a research permit, our chief science officer [Mark Kozubal] collected small samples from an acidic hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. Because the sample is much like a sourdough starter (ie, it can self-replicate) we don’t need to collect any additional samples from the hot spring to create all the Fy protein we’ll ever need.”

Nature’s Fynd’s products are currently limited to its meatless breakfast patties and dairy-free cream cheese, which were trailed through a small-scale product launch. The company is in the process of striking several retail partnerships in the US, said Rawal, with plans to make its products available more widely in Chicago this year.

“In 2022 and beyond, we have plans to expand across the US as well as across eating occasions from breakfast to dinner and everything in between,” said Rawal.

The company will place “a special focus on Asia [in 2022] where there is substantial demand and need for sustainable protein,” co-founder and chief executive Thomas Jonas said in a statement.

Rawal declined to share details about which Asia country the company will first launch its products, but she clarified that Nature’s Fynd already has teams on the ground in India and Singapore.

San Francisco-headquartered alternative protein start-up Eat Just became the first company in the world to have a cell-cultured meat product approved by a regulator in Singapore in December.

Singapore’s 30×30 initiative, which aims to get the city-state producing 30 percent of its nutritional needs by 2030, has created a supportive economic and regulatory environment for food-tech innovation.

Eat Just has also partnered with Proterra Investment Partners to launch an Asia-focused joint venture, which will target the region’s alternative protein supply chain.