Vegans Will.I.Am And Jaden Smith Invest In Plant-Based Impossible Burger

The tech startup raised $300 million in its latest round of funding - bringing its total raised to more than a staggering $750 million
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Will.I.Am and Jaden Smith

Will.I.Am and Jaden Smith

Vegan celebrities including Will. I. Am, Jaden Smith, and Ruby Rose have invested in the plant-based Impossible Burger.

Impossible Foods, which makes the popular patty, raised $300 million in its latest round of funding, taking its total money raised to a staggering $750 million.

The recent round also featured cash injections from plant-based or omnivorous stars including Jay-Z, Serena Williams, Bill Gates, and Katy Perry, as well as institutional investors like Google Ventures and Horizons Ventures.

Going public?

Impossible Foods' rival Beyond Foods recently launched on the New York Nasdaq, with share prices skyrocketing - but the Impossible says it is in no rush to follow just yet.

"We believe in self-reliance. Being ready to go public is a priority for the company because we need to be operating at the highest level of rigor," Chief Financial Officer David Lee told Reuters.

"But we are not in a rush, nor are we announcing an IPO filing. I think their (Beyond Meat) IPO indicates that retail investors along with retail consumers are ready for something better than the meat they've been eating for decades."

Impossible Whopper

The Impossible Whopper (Photo: Burger King)

Impossible Whopper

The Impossible Burger has made headlines in recent times thanks to fast-food giant Burger King using the patty in a vegetarian version of its famous Whopper sandwich (if the mayo is removed, the sandwich is plant-based).

The Impossible Whopper was launched in a limited number of outlets around St Louis on April 1. Since then, according to BK bosses, the burger has exceeded expectations, and will start rolling out across the States.

Impossible Foods controversy

While many in the food industry are encouraged by the Impossible Whopper's success, it's important to note that many vegans - and Impossible Foods itself consider the patty to be plant-based rather than vegan.

This is because in 2017, it was revealed that a key ingredient - soy leghemoglobin aka 'heme' - from the brand's flagship item the Impossible Burger was fed to rats in order to test its safety. In excess of 180 rats were killed as a result of the testing.

CEO Pat Brown reacted to the controversy, publishing a statement titled The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing. Brown, who has been vegan for more than 16 years, said the core of his company's mission is to 'eliminate exploitation of animals in the food system', as well as reduce the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.

"Among the thousands of animal species surveyed every decade by the World Wildlife Fund, the total number of living individual wild animals today is less than half what it was 40 years ago," he added."This wildlife loss is overwhelmingly due to the exploitation of animals for food, including hunting, fishing and especially the replacement of wildlife habitat by animal farming."