Impossible Foods, a San Francisco-based startup offering plant-based versions of animal products has hit a $1.4 billion funding milestone this year. Rumours suggest it’s about to IPO so to take advantage of buoyant US public equity markets. If so, it will likely make many principal and family offices some serious money.
Beyond Meat had a historic public listing in 2019 where shares rose by 163% by the end of its first trading day
Backers also rushed into a funding round last month worth $200 million fueling speculation that an IPO is around the corner. New backers include Coatue Management, the New York investment firm owned by hedge fund entrepreneur, Philippe Laffont. Billionaire investment strategist Park Hyeon-joo of asset manager Mirae Asset Global Investments also invested as did New York hedge fund XN which is backed by Gaurav Kapadia.
Long-standing investors include venture/family offices backed by Bill Gates, Vinod Khosla, Serena Williams and billionaire tech investor, Li-Ka Shing.
Coupled with its $500 million funding round in March, Impossible Foods has bagged $700 million this year alone. Other indications that an IPO might be next is seen in their R&D efforts and the expansion of their offerings beyond their meat-free burger product to include steak and pork substitutes.
One new product is its “Impossible Sausage” which has been incorporated into the menus of Burger King and Starbucks in the US where their latest $200 million funding will help them supply their products to restaurant retailers globally.
This year Impossible Foods plans to expand its retail efforts by 50% in order to meet the growing demand for its products, where sales are reaching record highs each month.
On the supermarket side, there’s a deal with Publix, a successful chain headquartered in Florida which is minority-owned by the founding Jenkins family. They have also managed to get stocked in Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket brand.
Speaking to Family Capital, Impossible Food’s director of communications Keely Sulprizio said its funding and expansion drive is to fast-track its meat-free mission over a market flotation: “We haven’t announced any plans for an IPO. We are currently focused on our US business and expanding the availability of Impossible Burger globally.”
But analysts say its growing investor base will be keen to see profits from an IPO or trade sale while markets stay high. Impossible Foods also needs to maximise its firepower to deal with competition from rivals including Beyond Meat, a Los-Angeles company that also produces meat substitutes with zero animal ingredients.
Beyond Meat had a historic public listing in 2019 where shares rose by 163% by the end of its first trading day. While this made it the best IPO performance in nearly twenty years, its shares have now cooled off.