Impossible Foods secures $114m in financing round

Chief operating officer David Lee told Agri Investor that the fast-growing plant-based foods pioneer structured recent investments as convertible debt as it prepares to launch its product line in Asia.

Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, California-based provider of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, secured $114 million in convertible note financing last week.

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek, which led a $75 million funding round for the company in August, was joined by Sailing Capital, a private equity firm with offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong that focuses on investments in the healthcare, technology and consumer goods sector.

Previous investors in the company have included Google Ventures, UBS and Bill Gates, among others. Last week’s capital infusion brings total investment in the company to about $400 million and prepares it for rapid expansion in the US and its first international market launch in Asia next month.

David Lee, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Impossible Foods, told Agri Investor in an email that Temasek and Sailing Capital, as “top tier global firms that invest in both private and public companies,” were a good match for Impossible Foods’ “rapidly-scaling growth.”

Asked why the company had chosen to structure all of its financings over the past 18 months as convertible debt, Lee again highlighted the fast pace of Impossible Foods’ recent growth.

“We preferred to raise capital that will value the company at a future valuation,” wrote Lee. “Our bet is that it will be much higher in the future, as we ramp up quickly. So far, it looks like a good bet.”

Established in 2011, Impossible Food’s flagship product, the Impossible Burger, is available in more than 1,000 locations in the US and is credited by some with helping drive growth and raise awareness for the entire alternative proteins segment.

Made from water, wheat and potato protein, coconut oil and other ingredients, the Impossible Burger is currently produced at a facility in Oakland, California that has the capacity to produce as much one million pounds per month.

Impossible Foods says it has developed a proprietary process for making another key ingredient that is responsible for the product’s taste, heme, without animals by fermenting soy leghemeglobin found in plants.

“Impossible scientists have discovered that it’s the abundance of heme that makes meat taste like meat,” Impossible Foods wrote. “The heme in the Impossible Burger is identical to the essential heme humans have been consuming for hundreds of thousands of years in meat – and while it delivers all the craveable depth in beef, it uses far fewer resources.”