Impossible Foods Now Worth 2 Billion Thanks to Celeb Investments

Serena Williams Katy Perry and Jay-Z are investing in Impossible Foods

Founded in 2011 by Stanford biochemistry professor and former pediatrician Dr. Patrick O. Brown, Impossible Foods makes meat from plants - with a smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.

Meat substitutes are a super-hot area right now as people try their products in increasing numbers, attracted by the healthier credentials and lower impact on the environment - and Beyond Meat's share price reflects this popularity as its share price has nearly tripled since its flotation a couple of weeks ago. "We believe in self-reliance. Being ready to go public is a priority for the company because we need to be operating at the highest level of rigor", Lee said.

"The principle use of this $300 million is to increase our ability to serve this unprecedented demand we're seeing", Lee tells Business Insider's Kate Taylor.

Plant-based meat substitute producer Impossible Foods got another cash injection, this time of $300m, which now implies a value of the company of $2bn.

The Impossible Burger is now sold in more than 7,000 restaurants in the us and Europe and has been a top-selling item and a driver of new foot traffic, according to the company.

In 2016, it released its Impossible Burger product, created to look and taste like a beef burger.

In addition to an increasing number of restaurants that sell the Impossible Burger, chefs are expanding the number of items made from the plant-based meat, with average per-store volume increasing.

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There's seems to be a certain cachet about it all in the entertainment world, if Impossible's press release is any indication.

A few institutions also invested in the company, including: Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project, as per Reuters. However, a string of celebrity investors are also backing the eco-friendly startup, including tennis star Serena Williams, rapper Jay-Z, and actor Jaden Smith, as well as Katy Perry, Kirk Cousins and Ruby Rose.

But the trend is more than merely trendy. Impossible expects the price to come down as it ramps up its alt-meat production. Perry even referenced the company with her vegan burger outfit at last week's Met Gala. "We have plenty of money to do the things that we want to do right now".

Both companies are, of course, going against deeply engrained preferences and habits. A lot has changed since then. But people really like meat, and efforts to curb these problems by convincing people to switch away from meat haven't worked well.

With his scientific background, Brown started investigating ways to make an affordable alternative to meat.

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown's 2017 "How I Built This" interview with NPR's Guy Raz is worth a listen.

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