Plant-based meat startup Beyond Meat files for IPO

Plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat, which is backed by Bill Gates, Tyson Foods and former New York Mets captain David Wright, has filed for an IPO.

According to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday, the California-based startup has applied to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “BYND,” with an initial offering size of $100 million. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse will lead the IPO.

In the documents, the company says its net revenue for the nine months ending in September was $56.4 million, a 167 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, with net losses at roughly $22.4 million.

Founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown, the plant-based startup has gained popularity with not only customers, but tech billionaires and star athletes.

Early investors in the company include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and former New York Mets captain David Wright.

Wright told FOX Business that the opportunity to invest in a food company with a mission to positively impact the food industry and the planet really excited him.

In 2016, Tyson Foods announced it invested a 5 percent stake into the company in an attempt to offer its consumers more choices. Former Tyson Foods CEO Tom Hayes told FOX Business that he sees plant-based protein being a big part of the food industry’s future.

Other retailers including Whole Foods, Kroger and restaurant chain TGI Friday’s have also formed partnerships with the vegan meat maker.

Brown told FOX Business in 2016 that despite critics of the products, its meat is still meat, but it’s just made directly from plants.

“Think of it as an innovation in meat, essentially,” he said.

Brown said the process works by running plant matter through a biological system to make meat.

“What we have done is figure out a way to take those same type of materials from plants and run them through a process of heating, cooling and pressure to create a piece of meat. So, you’re getting essentially the same things in terms of proteins, fats and water, but it’s coming directly through a system that comes from plants versus going through the animal,” he added.

And, while the outcome is the same, so is the taste, according to Brown, minus “all the cholesterol, hormones and other ‘junk’ found in meat products.”

But Beyond Meat isn’t the only company developing meat substitutes that resemble real meat. Impossible Foods and Memphis Meats are other startups creating meat products without using animals.

According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global market for meat substitutes is expected to grow steadily from an estimated $4.6 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion by 2023.