'Vegetarian' Meat Producer Impossible Foods Raises $114M
The developer of a plant-based meat alternative will debut in Asia in coming months where meat consumption is growing fastest in the world.
Photo Credit : Burgatory,
Impossible Foods, a foodtech startup from California has closed a round for $114 million in convertible note financing.
The startup has raised approximately $214 million in the past 18 months for a total venture funding of about $396 million since the company’s founding, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Started in 2011 by Stanford biochemistry professor and former pediatrician Dr. Patrick O. Brown, Impossible Foods makes meat directly from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The company uses modern science and technology to create wholesome food, restore natural ecosystems and feed a growing population sustainably.
Impossible Foods’ flagship product, the Impossible Burger, is made through a simple combination of plant-based ingredients. In only a handful of premium restaurants one year ago, the award-winning Impossible Burger is now in more than 1,000 restaurants from Hawaii to Maine, with more mainstream outlets coming every week.
In coming months the company will launch in Asia. Asia drives 44 percent of the world’s demand for meat, and the rate of consumption is growing faster than in any other region.
In development since 2011, the Impossible Burger debuted in July 2016 and is produced without hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol or artificial flavors. It uses about 75 percent less water, generates about 87 percent fewer greenhouse gases, and requires around 95 percent less land than conventional ground beef from cows.
The Impossible Burger is made from simple ingredients, including water, wheat protein, potato protein and coconut oil. One special ingredient — heme — contributes to the characteristic taste of meat and catalyzes all the other flavors when meat is cooked.
The company’s newest investors include Temasek and Sailing Capital. Temasek is an investment company headquartered in Singapore with a portfolio covering a broad spectrum of sectors including telecommunications, media and technology, financial services, transportation, consumer products, life sciences, energy, agriculture and biotech. Sailing Capital is a Shanghai and Hong Kong-based global private equity firm that invests in market-leading companies across a range of sectors including healthcare, technology and consumer goods.
Open Philanthropy Project, Temasek, Bill Gates and Horizons Ventures have invested in multiple rounds of funding. Early investors include Google Ventures, UBS and Viking Global Investors.
The startup’s original venture capital backer was Khosla Ventures, which provided seed funding and invested in multiple subsequent financing rounds. Khosla Ventures shares Impossible Food’s mission to eliminate the need for animal agriculture, which currently occupies nearly half of the planet’s arable land and consumes 25 percent of global freshwater.
“Our world-class investors enable us to ramp up rapidly and accomplish our urgent mission,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown. “We are proud of the progress we’ve made –but frankly there are still millions of restaurants and billions of people who want meat. We won’t stop until the global food system is truly sustainable.”
Impossible Foods began ramping up its first large-scale production facility in September 2017.
As a direct result of its rapid growth in demand, all of the financing from the past 18 months — about half the total investment raised — is convertible debt, according to SEC filings. The company currently expects this financing could be converted to stock based on a higher future valuation of the company.
“We are growing so rapidly that we don’t want to narrowly define our valuation today,” said Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer David Lee.
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