A-list celebs help pump $300M in funding into Impossible Foods

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

As a further sign of its increasing popularity, Impossible Foods revealed on Monday that it had just raised $300 million in the latest round of funding.

The growing demand for, and supply of, plant-based meats could help curb the huge carbon footprint of modern beef production.

Pat Brown is the 64-year-old CEO of Impossible Foods - a Silicon Valley startup that is already estimated to be worth $2 billion and is now backed by the likes of Serena Williams, Katy Perry, Bill Gates and Google.

This fundraising came not long after Impossible Foods announced a distribution tie-up with Burger King in the United States and only weeks after one of its rivals, Beyond Meat, floated on the stock market. Enter, Impossible Foods, a vegan startup that's making meatless burgers a little less impossible. We all know that some of the foods we grow and eat have impact on the environment.

The fifth equity funding round since Impossible Foods was launched in 2011 is meant to accelerate the company's rapid scaleup - including accelerated hiring and capacity expansion at the company's plant in Oakland, California.

According to the firm, the latest funding round comes amidst unprecedented demand for its flagship product, the plant-based Impossible Burger, which debuted in 2016.

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Brown launched Impossible Foods back in 2011 after giving up his dream job at the Stanford University School of Medicine where he had worked as a professor of biochemistry for two decades.

In the statement, Impossible Foods chief financial officer David Lee said the team has "cracked the molecular code for meat and built an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio and brand". "Our global financial partners are supporting a technology powerhouse that will transform the global food system". It plans to launch the Impossible Burger in retail outlets later this year.

Even more celebrities like Philly's own Questlove of The Roots has jumped on the Impossible Foods bandwagon with the launch of "Questlove's Cheesesteak".

The startup's sales in Asia, including Singapore, have risen more than three-fold since March 2019. Sales across the continent are rising, according to the company, in restaurants across Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau.

"The burgers "bleed, ' with Impossible using 'heme" - a protein created by its scientists through genetic engineering and yeast fermentation - and Beyond Meat using beetroot juice", writes Emiko Terazono for Financial Times.

"Sales of plant-based products grew by more than 17% a year ago, according to Nielsen, while other grocery products only grew by 2%", CNBC's Aditi Roy reports.

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