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My Impossible Adventure

This week, if you will indulge me, I would like to change gears a little and talk to you from a more intimate perspective. This will involve a first-person account, as the headline suggests. After all, when discussing any topic involving what we put into our bodies, such as food, a story drawn from one’s personal experiences is a great way to express a point.

 A couple of weeks ago, I had a meeting in lower Manhattan. The topic was, of course, focused on the many exciting pre-IPO investment opportunities we offer at Iron Edge, including one that’s garnering a great deal of attention lately: Impossible Foods. After the conclusion of our discussion, we went off in different directions: some uptown, some over to Brooklyn, and some (including me) across the Hudson River to New Jersey. After retrieving my car from the PATH station parking garage, I began to feel a little hungry. Then, a thought popped into my head. My job had me telling people about Impossible Foods, and about how the company was likely to revolutionize the food industry. Still, if any potential investor were to ask me if I had ever eaten an Impossible Burger, my response would have been an awkward “no”. I was suddenly inspired to address my hunger pangs and a professional vulnerability in one brilliant move.

 Even though it had been at least twenty years since my last visit to a Burger King, I knew that there was one located a couple of blocks away on 12th Street in Jersey City, close to the Holland Tunnel entrance. That would serve perfectly as my testing grounds. As I approached the cashier, my investigative scheme broadened even further. After ordering an Impossible Whopper, medium fries, and a small Coke, I took the opportunity to quiz the young woman running the register.

 “So tell me,” I said casually, “How many of these things are you selling these days?”

 “Lots of ‘em,” said the cashier. “People even have them for breakfast sometimes.”

 “Really? Wow! That’s something else! But, out of every ten customers, how many of them come here to order an Impossible Whopper?”

 “Oh, I’d say twelve or fifteen,” she replied.

 I felt the need to clarify. “No, I mean, if ten people walk in here, on a normal day, how many of those ten people would order an Impossible Whopper?”

 “Yeah,” she said. “Twelve or fifteen.”

 People were waiting in line behind me, and the aroma of fast food was making me hungrier. I chose to abandon this part of my mission and move on to the taste test.

 In short, the Impossible Whopper did not disappoint. It tasted exactly like the flame-broiled beef version, confirming the unanimous opinions I had heard from many people who had already sampled the product. Still, one of the more remarkable aspects of the experience was visual: the patty looked like meat, right down to the pinkish juices “bleeding” from the edges. This was no veggie burger or soy burger: this plant-based beef substitute was a wonder of science.

 After the satisfying meal, I sought out the manager of Burger King 12th Street Jersey City and asked him about sales. He quickly and confidently asserted that out of every ten customers at his restaurant, five to seven order the Impossible Whopper. This was a bigger number than I had expected to hear. If you have the chance, go to Burger King, try the Impossible Whopper, and ask the manager the same question. I’ll bet you a small order of fries that you will hear a similarly impressive response.

 Two days later, I found myself at a diner in Millburn, New Jersey. This town is geographically close, but socioeconomically distant from Jersey City. Sure enough, every booth had a little table tent advertising the eatery’s brand-new Impossible Burger. Naturally, I grilled my server about sales, but his data fell short because the burgers had only been on the menu for a few days. I’ll wait a couple of weeks and check in with them again. But these two encounters, paired with the knowledge that Iron Edge has immediate access to shares in this rapidly growing company, guided me to “get personal” with this week’s email.

 In preparation for this article, I did a fair amount of research. I learned that aside from Burger King, White Castle now sells Impossible Sliders nationwide after an explosively successful test at 140 locations last spring. White Castle CEO Lisa Ingram was quoted saying, “Our Cravers definitely developed a hunger for the Impossible Slider. Sales easily exceeded our expectations.” To me, what seemed noteworthy was the successful introduction of a vegan item to the White Castle crowd, which I would have deemed even more unlikely than its acceptance by Whopper devotees.

 Further study taught me that the Impossible revolution has entered the realms of Applebee’s, Bareburger, Wahlburgers, Carl’s Jr., Fatburger, Subway, and many other well-known spots. Add to this some trendier hangouts like David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in Manhattan and San Francisco’s Chez Maman. From White Castle to the Millburn Diner to Chez Maman, Impossible has clearly hit all points along a broad spectrum. And the icing on the cake? Impossible Foods has found its way into grocery stores. Following the lead of chief rival Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), Impossible’s product is available at Gelson’s Markets in Southern California, Wegman’s in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and two Fairway Market locations in New York City. The company’s tidal wave of popularity assures that the list of outlets will continue to grow quickly. For now, you can click this link for a handy nationwide restaurant and store locator.

 On the subject of Beyond Meat, that company has had a recent development that fits our topic well. Three weeks ago, McDonald’s announced a small test of a burger made with Beyond Meat at some locations in Canada. They are calling it the P.L.T. (Plant, Lettuce, and Tomato). While this does not have a direct influence on Impossible Foods’s outlook, it is a colossal endorsement of this very specific niche within the food industry. And, returning to my personal experiences, I’ll share a little tidbit from my commute last Tuesday. In a News Radio 1010 WINS business report on my car radio, the announcer said (not quite verbatim, but very close, as memory serves): “Beyond Meat continued to come back down to Earth today with its seventh consecutive day of losses, trimming its post-IPO gains to 390%.” This, I thought, was not only an oddly bullish proclamation of bearishness but also a great example of a “first world problem”: having to settle for a gain of “only” 390%. Mind you, Beyond and Impossible are two distinct and separate corporations, and the stellar performance of one’s stock shouldn’t be relied upon as an indicator of the other’s potential. That said, you still can look at Beyond’s meteoric rise as a sign of abundant investor enthusiasm for the industry.

 Yesterday, during an interview at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., professional rich guy / social activist / Impossible Foods investor Bill Gates expressed his enthusiastic confidence in the plant-based meats sector and its positive impact on our environment. Gates added that he, too, eats Impossible Burgers. Unfortunately, though, I did not bump into the Microsoft founder at the Jersey City Burger King during my Impossible Adventure.

 For more detailed information on Impossible Foods’s history, science, and social responsibility, as well as what enticing new meat products might be in the company’s pipeline, click on Your Mission: Impossible Foods (August 22, 2019) from Iron Edge’s website.

   We at Iron Edge VC are very proud to have pre-IPO access to Impossible Foods, Inc. shares. If you would like to learn more, or if you know of anybody else who would, please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking “Get in Touch” below.

As always, shares are available on a first come, first served basis.

5f6e0d464e388c4975685025 Paul Min

Paul Maguire

Founder And Managing Partner