Temasek co-leads $114m investment in Asia-bound Impossible Foods

The completed plant-based hamburger is displayed during a media tour of Impossible Foods labs and processing plant in Redwood City, California. Reuters.

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has co-led a $114-million convertible note financing round in Impossible Foods, a California-based startup that makes plant-based burger patties that taste like beef. The latest investment brings the startup’s total funding to nearly $400 million so far.

Impossible Foods announced the successful closing of the investment, co-led by Shanghai- and Hong Kong-based private equity firm Sailing Capital, as it plans to launch its Impossible Burger in Asia.

“Asia drives 44 per cent of the world’s demand for meat, and the rate of consumption is growing faster than any other region,” Impossible Foods said in a statement.

Its meatless burgers are expected to land on the menus of Asia’s restaurants sometime this year. In an interview with Fortune in December 2017, CEO Pat Brown said Asia is a “high priority” because of the continent’s population size and its growth of demand.

Started in 2011, Impossible Foods, the most well funded of clean food startups, uses a blend of wheat and potato protein, among other ingredients to make its famous meatless, juicy burgers. A molecule called heme is responsible for the burgers’ bloodiness and meat-like cravability.

“The Impossible Burger is produced without hormones, antibiotics, cholesterol or artificial flavors. It uses about 75 per cent less water, generates about 87 per cent fewer greenhouse gases, and requires around 95 per cent less land than conventional ground beef from cows,” the company said.

Since its inception, the startup has attracted big-name investors, including Temasek, Bill Gates, UBS, and Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures. Last year, Temasek led a $75-million funding round in California-based Impossible Foods.

The startup’s original venture capital backer was Khosla Ventures, which provided seed funding and invested in multiple subsequent financing rounds.

“We are proud of the progress we’ve made — but frankly there are still millions of restaurants and billions of people who want meat. We won’t stop until the global food system is truly sustainable,” said Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown.

Lab meat companies have been attracting global investors recently due to the forecast food demand in the coming years.

According to the Population Institute, world food production will need to rise by 70 per cent if the global population reaches 9.1 billion, as forecast, by 2050. However, the current trends of producing food will not be sufficient to meet the projected global food demand by then.

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As global investors crave sustainable food tech startups, SE Asia has some catching up to do

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.