Among the 20 entrepreneurs and startups selected for TEDMED's annual The Hive, we couldn't ignore Impossible Foods.
The company, founded by Dr. Patrick O’Reilly Brown, the world-renowned geneticist and former Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University, is literally breaking through plants (grains, greens and beans) and selecting fats, proteins and other nutrients able to recreate the look, flavor and smell of meat and dairy products.
Aiming to disrupt the current cycle of food production, which is based on the extensive use of land, water, energy and other natural resources, Impossible Foods is looking to establish a more sustainable burger economy.
The company's optimistic vision sees industrial animal farming and its inhumane butchering practices giving way to a much more environmentally friendly plant-based enterprise, which will definitely please vegetarians, but could it also lure hardcore meat-lovers?
If anyone can do it, it's Pat Brown, whose résumé includes his 2002 election to the National Academy of Sciences (an honor roll of the top 2000 scientists in the nation); and the co-founding of the Public Library of Science - an online database of open access information contributing to the spread of scientific knowledge outside traditional academic channels.
In 2011, Brown turned to the innovative field of food startups, and co-founded this Redwood City, CA company with celebrity vegan chef Tal Ronnen and cheesemaker Monte Casino. Among the financial backers, one name in particular stands out - Bill Gates. [FYI: TechCrunch reports that the company raised $108 million in new funding in 2015!]
In 2012, Pat also partnered Ronnen and Casino, as well as cheesemaker Jean Prevot and the entrepreneur Matthew Sade to launch Lyrical Foods - maker of Kite Hill’s successful line of nut-based, dairy-free foods.
As we at Not Impossible Now know, nothing is impossible. So, perhaps Impossible’s Cheeseburger, scheduled to launch in 2016, is the first major step toward a healthier life-style that's better for both our hearts and our hearth.