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Thomas Jonas

Chief Executive Officer

Thomas believes in asking the big questions but also in finding new and different solutions. When a chance encounter on the beach in Hawaii led Thomas to a lab in Montana where he met Mark, he saw infinite possibilities in the tiny microscopic organism. When others often ask why, Thomas’ curiosity drives him to ask, why not and what if? Why not use the nutritional power of Fy to positively impact the environment and disrupt the food industry? What if Fy could feed people today and for generations to come? And as a former officer in the French Air Force, Thomas knows that even the sky is not the limit.
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Dr. Mark Kozubal

Chief Science Officer

Mark loves exploring science to find groundbreaking ways to benefit mankind. True to his curious nature, he journeyed to Yellowstone National Park and later discovered an extremophile microbe in samples taken from the hot springs. This microbe eventually grew to become our nutritional fungi protein, Fy. As a leading expert in extremophile organisms, it’s no surprise that his deep knowledge has led NASA, the National Science Foundation, the USDA, and the EPA to seek him out. When Mark isn’t researching extremophiles, he likes to mountain bike, backcountry ski, and strum guitar.
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Matthew Strongin

Chief Financial Officer

Matthew is passionate about leveraging technology to deliver a sustained impact on the planet and our society. This enthusiasm led him to Nature’s Fynd after working in venture capital and banking. As a venture investor in early-stage companies focused on agriculture and energy, Matthew experienced firsthand the struggles and rewards of commercializing technologies that both challenge convention and create sustainable solutions that disrupt the food industry in a positive way. He enjoys building towards audacious goals using his innovative spirit— just ask him about completely remodeling his home in his spare time.
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Karuna Rawal

Chief Marketing Officer

As a marketer with award-winning international success, Karuna was ready for the challenge of building a purpose-driven brand from the ground up. That brand? Nature’s Fynd. Karuna’s broad experience in launching new food innovations combined with an intentional focus on how we can create a better food system led her to this position. Building on the company’s unique origins, Karuna is crafting a compelling narrative for Nature’s Fynd. And her own enthusiasm for food extends beyond her kitchen to seeking out amazing tasting vegan food. So if you’re in Chicago, ask her to share a favorite recipe or restaurant she last visited for a flawless recommendation.
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Jim Millis

Chief Technology Officer

Jim’s belief is simple: live modestly and leave the world in a better place than you found it. He does this by preparing food from his own garden and through his work at Nature’s Fynd. With over thirty years of working as an entrepreneurial leader and his expertise in fermentation technology, Jim helped create the breakthrough method used to grow our nutritional fungi protein, Fy. This innovative spirit comes from a family of creators. With a woodshop on his family’s farm and an uncle in the business of wood lathes, Jim also loves woodturning to craft stunning bowls from reclaimed wood.
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Our work with Yellowstone National Park

Overhead view of Black Pool at West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Our Research

Our jour­ney to Yellowstone

Mil­lions of years ago, in the acidic hot springs at what is today Yel­low­stone Nation­al Park, a remark­able microbe evolved. Fast for­ward to 2009 when one of our found­ing mem­bers, Mark Kozubal (now Chief Sci­ence Offi­cer at Nature’s Fynd) was a Ph.D. stu­dent research­ing extreme life at the park with sup­port from NASA and the Nation­al Sci­ence Foun­da­tion. Under a research per­mit, he took sam­ples with­out neg­a­tive­ly impact­ing the area and lat­er dis­cov­ered and iden­ti­fied this remark­able microbe called Fusar­i­um strain flavolapis.

Frog in Yellowstone with puffed up chest sitting in a body of water.

Cul­ti­vat­ing the microbe using our break­through fer­men­ta­tion tech­nol­o­gy, we grow our com­plete pro­tein, Fy™. Due to the microbe’s nat­ur­al resource­ful­ness, we can make all the Fy we need, and thanks to a ben­e­fits-shar­ing agree­ment with YNP, we have the right to use Fusar­i­um strain flavolapis to cre­ate our inno­v­a­tive products.

Elk in Yellowstone walking up a hill in the snow.

Our research sup­port­ing the park

At Nature’s Fynd, we’re pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing our nat­ur­al resources and sup­port­ing nat­ur­al envi­ron­ments that aid the park in its mis­sion to bet­ter detect, track, mon­i­tor, and man­age inva­sive dis­eases to fos­ter healthy and thriv­ing wildlife pop­u­la­tions in this vital ecosystem.

As part of our ben­e­fits-shar­ing agree­ment, we pro­vide crit­i­cal research resources by:

  • Build­ing tools to track and mon­i­tor pathogens that specif­i­cal­ly tar­get mam­mals and aquat­ic species.
  • Devel­op­ing data­bas­es to mon­i­tor changes in the genet­ic diver­si­ty of pathogens across the land­scape and over time.

The Greater Yel­low­stone Ecosys­tem (GYE) is one of the largest near­ly-intact ecosys­tems in the low­er 48 states and one of the last in the north­ern tem­per­ate zones, with the largest con­cen­tra­tion of wildlife in the U.S. out­side of Alas­ka. The GYE is approx­i­mate­ly 18 mil­lion acres encom­pass­ing por­tions of north­west­ern Wyoming, south­west­ern Mon­tana, and east­ern Ida­ho includ­ing all of Yel­low­stone Nation­al Park. Dis­ease with­in GYE wildlife pop­u­la­tions is a grow­ing con­cern as dis­ease organ­isms are increas­ing­ly shared between wildlife, humans, and domes­tic ani­mals. Bison and elk are known to have a long his­to­ry of bru­cel­losis infec­tion, but oth­er wildlife dis­eases have recent­ly been detect­ed includ­ing chron­ic wast­ing dis­ease in deer and elk, whirling dis­ease in trout, chytrid­iomy­co­sis in amphib­ians, and dis­tem­per and mange in wolves. Dis­ease man­age­ment in free-rang­ing wildlife is chal­leng­ing, but our sci­en­tists are using cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy to work along­side YNP in pre­vent­ing long-term neg­a­tive impacts on the ecosystem.

Yellowstone Pledge

As part of our commitment to supporting and protecting the park, we’ve taken the Yellowstone Pledge:
“I pledge to protect Yellowstone National Park. I will act responsibly and safely, set a good example for others, and share my love of the park and all the things that make it special.”
We encourage others to take the pledge, help preserve Yellowstone National Park, and support the conservation of our precious natural resources.

The NPS Arrowhead is used with permission of the National Park Service.
The views and con­clu­sions con­tained in this doc­u­ment are those of the authors and should not be inter­pret­ed as rep­re­sent­ing the opin­ions or poli­cies of the US Gov­ern­ment. Men­tion of trade names or com­mer­cial prod­ucts does not con­sti­tute their endorse­ment by the US Government. 
We admire your curiosity. Check out our FAQ page to find
answers to some often-asked questions.