Impossible Foods continues its onward march toward ubiquity with a new round of funding, raising $300 million in capital. That puts the fake meat maverick’s total equity at $750 million, and its valuation at $2 billion, according to Reuters. What does that mean for fans of meat alternatives? A lot more of it (and eventually another flashy tech IPO).
The company’s recent partnership with Burger King — it introduced the Impossible Whopper in April, with plans to roll it out to all 7,200 US stores by the end of the year — is just one example of the public’s interest in non-meat products (or at least the willingness of corporations to bet on it). The recent round of funding is also an indication: In addition to investment from institutional investors like Khosla Ventures, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Google Ventures, celebrities chipped in. The company lists Jay Brown, Kirk Cousins, Paul George, JAY-Z, Trevor Noah, Alexis Ohanian, Kal Penn, Katy Perry, Questlove, Ruby Rose, Phil Rosenthal, Jaden Smith, Serena Williams, will.i.am and Zedd as individual investors.
That’s big news for the company’s mission, which is to convince meat-eaters to ... not eat meat. So far this year chains like White Castle, Red Robin, and Qdoba have adopted Impossible Foods products; according to the company, the Impossible Burger is currently available in over 7,000 restaurants on two continents.
It’s also a sign that the company could feel the pressure from competitor Beyond Meat, which went public last week with a bang. The company priced its initial public offering at $25 per share and closed its first day on the market $65.75 (163% above its IPO price). According to MarketWatch, that makes it the best performing first-day IPO in almost 20 years. (Impossible Foods CFO David Lee told Reuters that the company is “not in a rush” to IPO.)
Around San Francisco, the burger is now available at restaurants big and small, from Gott’s Roadside to Cockscomb. The final, missing link is retail sales at groceries and other markets, which Impossible Foods plans to launch later this year. In the meantime, the new round of funding will expand the company’s manufacturing facility and hiring in Oakland.
The whole plan is to eliminate the need for animals in the food chain by 2035, though that will largely depend on consumer participation, of course. The support of celebrities, fast food chains, and investors is great, but it remains to be seen how quickly diners will fully eschew meat in favor of Impossible’s products, despite even more damning studies linking beef and dairy to climate change.