Impossible Foods Inc. said it has secured $200 million in its latest funding round, led by new investor Coatue.
The food tech startup has raised about $1.5 billion since its founding in 2011. Existing investors such as Mirae Asset Global Investments and Temasek, as well as new investor XN, also contributed to the Series G round.
Impossible Foods said it will use the funds, in part, to expand its research and development programs, accelerate its manufacturing scale-up, increase its retail presence and availability in key international markets and accelerate commercialization and development of next-generation, plant-based products such as Impossible Pork Made from Plants, milk, steak and other foods.
The company’s previous investment round -- a $500 million Series F announced in mid-March -- was one of the largest investment rounds for a food tech startup and was oversubscribed due to excess demand from investors.
In addition to blue-chip institutional investors, Impossible Foods’ existing individual investors include celebrities Jay Brown, Common, Kirk Cousins, Paul George, Peter Jackson, Jay-Z, Mindy Kaling, Trevor Noah, Alexis Ohanian, Kal Penn, Katy Perry, Questlove, Ruby Rose, Phil Rosenthal, Jaden Smith, Serena Williams, will.i.am and Zedd.
The Series G closely follows the launch of Impossible Sausage, the first all-new product from Impossible Foods since the 2016 launch of its Impossible Burger. After debuting at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in January, Impossible Sausage became available in more than 22,000 restaurants in just six months.
Burger King became the first restaurant to roll out Impossible Sausage in June when it launched the Impossible Croissan’wich in all 7,500 locations in the U.S. A week later, Starbucks launched the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich in all 15,000 Starbucks nationwide. Impossible Sausage also went on sale to all restaurants in the U.S. via major foodservice distributors, beginning with 30 of the top-rated diners in the country, according to the announcement.
The latest investment round also comes amid increased demand for the company’s flagship Impossible Burger, particularly in grocery stores. Impossible Foods said it accelerated its retail rollout in response to tremendous demand from consumers and grocery stores as Americans radically shifted their food purchasing behaviors due to COVID-19.
Rocketing retail growth
Impossible Burger made its grocery store debut in September 2019, immediately becoming the top item sold on the East and West coasts at select grocery stores and outselling all ground beef from cows at many stores. At one grocery store in southern California, Impossible Burger outsold all brands of ground beef from cows and also outsold the next most popular single product by 6X, according to the announcement.
In March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Impossible Burger was on store shelves in only 150 grocery stores nationwide. It’s now available in more than 8,000 grocery stores across all 50 states, including in Walmart, Kroger, Trader Joe’s and more -- a more than 60X increase in the company's retail footprint in the past six months.
In June, Impossible Foods debuted its direct-to-consumer e-commerce site with two-day delivery in the continental U.S. It reported high customer satisfaction, with about 95% of online customers saying they are likely to purchase via the e-commerce channel again. At least 75% of buyers reported having tried Impossible Burger previously in restaurants, including Burger King, White Castle and Red Robin.
The food tech startup has dramatically increased its production capacity to support surging demand. With a robust plant-based supply chain, the company said it has experienced no disruptions to its manufacturing operations during COVID-19 and has achieved new production milestones month over month.
Impossible Foods David Lee chief financial officer noted that “2020 has been a year of explosive growth for us, but this is just the beginning. We plan to create plant-based upgrades for every major category of animal-derived food products. This investment will allow us to continue to develop and commercialize the technology that will enable that transformation.”