Impossible Foods, a sustainable food startup has secured $108 million in Series D round of funding led by UBS that was joined by Viking Global Investors along with other investors like Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures.
Founded in 2011 by Stanford University biochemist Patrick O.Brown, Impossible Food makes plant-based foods that it says taste like meat or dairy equivalents but use lesser resources, agriculturally and environmentally speaking, to prepare. It produces almond milk cheeses and vegan cream cheese-like spreads that are sold in stores like Whole Foods. It is also working on producing plant-based meat and dairy products like bacon and chicken that does not contain cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics. Brown works with the aim to help feel the growing population on Earth which is expected to hit 9.5 billion humans by 2050.
Brown at press release said, “This latest financing ensures that we have more than enough runway to bring our first products to market. We are grateful to our visionary investors, whose support will enable us to transform the global food system by providing consumers with delicious and sustainable meat and dairy foods made directly from plants.”
Impossible Food’s flagship product is a plant-based cheeseburger. The startup expects to launch its products in the US market in 2016 and then gradually expand into other countries.
Horizon Ventures has also invested in Modern Meadow, another food startup that also works to produce meat-equivalent products. However, instead of using plants and biochemistry to develop its products. Modern Meadow uses bioengineering to essentially brew animal cells in the lab to make leathers and steak chips. Horizon Ventures’ Solina Chau, ” Both companies are trying to bring great food to the world’s table through technology that is much more environmentally friendly and effective in terms of ‘real cost’ to the world.” As the science behind the products manufactured are different, the companies are not considered to be competitive.
Reports suggest that the Google was interested in acquiring Impossible Foods last July, but the deal fell apart the company wanted more than what Google was ready to pay. Now it seems the tech world is really believing in the potential of the company.