Impossible Foods has secured close to $500 million in fresh funding as it eyes further expansion into Asian markets. The funding is also aimed at helping the company weather the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CFO David Lee told the Financial Times.
The Series F round was led by South Korea’s Mirae Asset Global Investments. Existing investors including US-based Khosla Ventures, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, and Singapore’s Temasek also participated.
The company – which is among the most recognised brands in the alternative protein space – said it will use the funds for research and development, scaling up manufacturing capacity, and expediting the commercialisation of its newer products such as Impossible Sausage and Impossible Pork.
An Impossible Foods spokesperson told AFN that the company will accelerate its recruitment of “top-tier scientists, as well as the advance discovery work they pursue.”
The company’s self-stated mission is to “replace… the use of animals in food production by 2035”, according to founder and CEO Patrick O. Brown. “To do that, we need to double production every year, on average, for 15 years and double down on research and innovation. The market has its ups and downs, but the global demand for food is always there,” he said.
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Last year, Impossible Foods quadrupled production at its plant in Oakland, California, as well as entering a wide-ranging partnership with food manufacturer OSI Group.
Earlier this month it said it would cut the price of the plant-based protein it sells to US distributors by an average of 15% – asking customers to pass on the reduction to restaurants – in an effort to be more competitive with comparative beef products.
Additionally, some of the Series F capital will go towards expansion in Impossible Foods’ existing and target markets globally. Outside of the US, the company currently sells its products in Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, and Asia will remain a focal point for further growth. The role of new investor, Seoul-based Mirae Asset, in the round underlines Impossible Foods’ pivot to the region.
“We have focused our international expansion primarily in Asia so far, because [it] represents more than 40% of the global demand for animal meat,” the spokesperson said – adding that Impossible Foods continues to engage with “regulators in Europe and elsewhere” to advance in other regions too.
As part of today’s announcement, Impossible Foods said it has raised total funding of around $1.3 billion to date. Following its $300 million Series E round – which was co-led by Horizons Ventures and Temasek – in May last year, it was reportedly valued at $2 billion. In November, it was said to be seeking investment of up to $400 million that would take it to a post-money valuation of between $3 billion and $5 billion.
Impossible Foods declined to share further financial details, including its post-Series F valuation. Other previous investors include Microsoft and its founder Bill Gates, Google’s GV, and a slew of celebrity backers such as musician Jay-Z, tennis player Serena Williams, and film director Peter Jackson.