Food Revolution Group’s (ASX:FOD) much-vaunted $20 million investment from Careline founder Dr Norman Li isn’t coming quite quick enough for the company — Dr Li is advancing $1.9 million of it ahead of time to fund the company’s upgrade of its Mill Park production facility.

Dr Li has agreed to provide bridge funding to the company, by paying $1.89 million in advance. Bridge funding is usually an interim financing option used by companies to solidify their short-term position until a long-term financing option can be arranged. It will be provided interest-free, the company says.

Food Revolution future-proofed itself back in September, when it secured a $20.25 million investment from Dr Li, who founded health and skincare maker and importer-exporter Careline in Sydney in the 1990s.

Under the terms of the deal, Dr Li became chairman of the company, Careline became the China distributor for Food Revolution’s range of juices and kombuchas and Food Revolution sold 52 per cent of the business to Dr Li, Careline and some unnamed strategic investors.

But the investment was not up-front; 375 million shares are being paid out in five tranches until March 2020. The company has so far received $3.51 million in two tranches, with $16.74 million to be paid in the three remaining tranches, subject to shareholder approval in a meeting to be held in the next two months.

It is from this $16.74 million that Dr Li has advanced the $1.89 million for bridge funding, in order to give the company money to upgrade its Mill Park home, conduct research and development on its proposed export products and increase production levels.

Food Revolution (ASX:FOD) shares rose 9 per cent on the news.

Dr Li will be repaid from the proceeds of the issue of the next tranche of 100 million shares to raise $5.4 million, if it gets shareholder approval.

The final two tranches, of 100 million and 110 million shares, to raise $5.4 million and $5.94 million, are due in September this year and March next year.

Performance shares are also part of the agreement; Careline will receive up to 190 million performance shares in Food Revolution if they help lift sales from the current $35 million annually to $500 million by June 2023.

If all of the above is met, Food Revolution will see its issued shares rise to a total of 999 million. Dr Li has “personally guaranteed” the investment.

“Dr Li’s significant financial commitment shows his strong confidence on the financial outlook for FOD as it establishes strong distribution channels domestically and internationally, continues to develop innovative products and scale up its state of the art facility in Mill Park,” the company said in a statement.