Chicago-based Nature’s Fynd, producer of fermented fungi proteins from a microbe originating in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone National Park, announces construction of a new 200,000 Sq. Ft. facility in Chicago to expand capacity for its meatless and dairy-free products. When the products were pre-released this February, they sold out within a 24 hour period.
Founded in 2012, Nature’s Fynd’s early investors included Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management. Nature’s Fynd raised $350 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank this July, bringing a total raise to $500M and meaning the company achieved Unicorn status, placing it amongst a dozen or so startups in the Chicago area to hit a unicorn valuation or higher this year.
Comfortably in Unicorn territory
CEO Thomas Jonas noted to vegconomist today that he was not able to communicate on an exact valuation, with CMO Karuna Rawal adding: “We are not sharing the specific valuation of the company but we are comfortably in Unicorn territory.”
Nature’s Fynd currently employs 152 people across its Chicago headquarters and Bozeman, Montana R&D center. The company states it will provide over 200 jobs to the Chicago region to create a total staff of 350 employees by the end of 2023.
“One of Chicago’s newest unicorns, Nature’s Fynd, is reinventing the future of food on the South Side of our city by reclaiming the old Stockyards as an up-and-coming world leader in new protein,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “In addition, this incredible company is bringing high-tech and environmental lly sustainable jobs to the South Side, which will give our residents an exciting opportunity to enter a rapidly-growing and good-paying career field. This is a huge win for Chicago and for the world, and I am grateful to the Nature’s Fynd team for choosing our great city.”
“Following our successful retail launch in California, we are excited to expand our distribution to Chicago and other cities over the coming months,” said Jonas. “Bolstering our production capacity in Chicago is the next major milestone as we bring our Fy-based foods that are better for people and better for our planet to more stores.”
Nature’s Fynd expects to expand regionally including with Mariano’s in the coming weeks. Michael Marx, Division President Roundy’s, and Mariano’s said, “We were really impressed by the delicious taste and texture of Nature’s Fynd Meatless Breakfast Patties and Dairy-Free Cream Cheese. We are excited to be the first Chicago grocery store to launch this truly innovative home-grown brand and we know our Mariano’s shoppers will love them.”
“Chicago is the food innovation capital of the world because of companies like Nature’s Fynd whose expansion and growth we celebrate today,” said Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO, World Business Chicago, Chief Marketing Officer, City of Chicago. “Nature’s Fynd has also helped Chicago become a driving force in increasing good-for-you and sustainable food, helping to meet consumer and planetary demands.”