Serena Williams, Jay-Z, Katy Perry are investing in Impossible Foods

Company produces plant-based alternatives to meat

By Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business
2018 Getty Images

Serena Williams celebrates victory following her women's singles semi-final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia on Day 11 of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sept. 6, 2018, in the Flushing…

Impossible Foods has raised another $300 million to satisfy demand for its plant-based alternatives to meat -- and celebrities are joining in.

Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Serena Williams, Jaden Smith, Trevor Noah and Zedd are all among the slew of investors Impossible Foods announced Monday. The latest round of funding was led by the company's major, previous investors Temasek, a Singaporean investment company, and Horizon Ventures, a venture capital firm in Hong Kong.

Overall, Impossible Foods has raised more than $750 million.

Celebrity investment in Impossible may be another sign that realistic meat alternatives have become incredibly trendy. Some consumers are trying to eat less meat for health reasons and to reduce their impact on the environment, so demand for plant-based protein is on the rise. This year, Impossible Foods has seen such a spike in demand that it has been running out of product.

To keep up, Impossible plans to hire at least 50 new employees at its Oakland, California, factory, which currently employs about 70 full-time employees. It's also looking to open more manufacturing facilities, CFO David Lee told CNN Business last week.

Lee added that though the latest round of funding will help, Impossible will still probably struggle to meet demand in the future.

"I think that there will be fits and starts," he said. "There will be times when we have more supply than the demand immediately available, and soon enough we'll outgrow that ability to supply."

Lee said that he thinks it will "take a little bit of time" before Impossible is able to meet the level of demand it is seeing today. Impossible Foods and its competitor Beyond Meat, which had a wildly successful initial public offering earlier this month, target meat eaters who want to diversify their diets rather than vegans and vegetarians. As meat eaters become more open to eating plant-based proteins, demand will continue to grow, Lee said.

"The more normal the Impossible Burger becomes, the more we will see adoption," he said.

Lee added that the company, which launched in 2011, will need to grow significantly to meet demand.

"We are so small today that, until we reach a sizable portion of the overall market, I think we're going to be growing to meet this scorching demand that we're seeing today," he said, adding that he's "going to be hard at work raising capital" for some time.

Impossible currently only sells its plant-based protein products to restaurants, but plans to launch in retail stores this year. Beyond Meat sells to restaurants and is also available in stores.

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