Impossible Foods raises $108m to bring plant burger into production

UBS and Bill Gates are among the backers in the Series D round for the start-up which is making meat and cheese from plant-based proteins.

Impossible Foods, a California-based company that makes meat and cheese from plant ingredients, has raised $108m from investors including UBS and Bill Gates, enabling it to start producing its burger for the public next year.

The company, founded by Stanford biochemistry professor Patrick Brown, raised the series D round of financing from UBS and Viking Global Investors, as well Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures, among others. It follows a $75m financing round last year and rising interest in the company’s plant-based meats, including a reported takeover bid from tech giant Google.

“This latest financing ensures that we have more than enough runway to bring our first products to market,” Brown said in a statement. The company plans to release its first product – the Impossible burger – in 2016. The burgers will be initially marketed in the US, but Impossible Foods wants to expand production to make the plant-based food more widely available.

Brown established Impossible Foods in 2011 to create meat and cheese products from plant proteins and nutrients in order to help cater for the world’s growing demand for animal protein. The company aims to make products that look and taste like animal meat without the environmental impact of farming, or the use of hormones and antibiotics.

Impossible Foods was reported to have received a takeover approach from Google earlier this year by tech website The Information. However, the bid of between $200 million and $300 million was said to have been rejected as too low.

Other start-ups are focused on making real plant-based alternatives to animal meat. Fellow California group Beyond Meat raised an undisclosed sum from investors, including Microsoft’s Gates and Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, for its series D financing round last year. Beyond Meat is already selling its chicken and beef products across the US, as well as in Continental Europe.