The Hustle

🌱 Impossible Foods vs. Beyond Meat

The Hustle - Silicon Valley Tech News


April 19, 2021

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The big idea

Beyond Meat vs. Impossible Foods, explained

Don’t let the adjective in “fake meat” fool you — the money involved is very, very real.

The global market for plant-based meat alternatives is projected to reach $450B by 2040, as reported by Bloomberg.

Today, the leader in the market is Beyond Meat…

… which can be found in more places than its leading competitor, Impossible Foods:

  • US restaurants: Beyond (42k) vs. Impossible (30k+)
  • International markets: Beyond (80+) vs. Impossible (5)
  • Share of frozen/refrigerated retail meat substitutes: Beyond (22%) vs. Impossible (9%)

Meanwhile, Beyond Meat is publicly traded with a market cap of ~$9B while Impossible Foods notched a valuation of $4B in its latest fundraising round (though that number could skyrocket on a prospective IPO).

The pandemic has improved Impossible’s position

While Beyond has high-profile partnerships (e.g., McDonald’s), it relies heavily on the small restaurant chains and independent businesses that make up a majority of its customers, who were hit hard by the pandemic.

Conversely, Impossible relies on major chains like Starbucks and Burger King that have been somewhat “pandemic-resilient.”

Impossible has also made significant headway in supermarkets, growing its presence from 150 to 20k+ locations in the past year.

Aggressively going after market share

Impossible is wooing grocers and restaurants by cutting the price of its patties and other substitutes. In fact, the prices are near cost competitive to real beef itself, and Beyond has responded with its own promotions.

The fake meat awareness raised by Beyond and Impossible is bringing serious competition:

  • Huge grocery chains: Kroger, Wegmans, and Albertsons all have white label faux meat products
  • Meat producers: Smithfield and JBS have their own fake meat lines

As it stands, fake meat only makes up 2.7% of total packaged meat sales. For Beyond Meat, the competition for fake meat will only get more real.

Snippets
  • SpaceX wins a $2.9B contract from NASA to build the next lunar lander for a return trip to the moon. 🚀🌑
  • Streaming dollars: Apple documents show that the iPhone maker pays $0.01 per stream, 2x Spotify’s rate. Spotify still delivers more total dollars to the music industry as it has more users (345m vs. 60m+).
  • Peloton’s Tread+ treadmill is under fire after one child died in an accident. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning people to not have the machine near children while Peloton insists the device is safe.
  • Connected: The state of New York passes a law that requires internet service providers to offer affordable broadband, defined as $15 per month.
  • Lifeline on hold: A $16B SBA rescue fund targeting music venues (theaters, concert halls) will hopefully be open to applications next week.
  • The joke crypto asset, Dogecoin, is now worth $40B+ after surging in value over the past week. For reference (and laughs), that figure is greater than the market caps of Southwest Airlines ($37B), Peloton ($34B), and Zillow ($32B).
  • Sandbox game Roblox is rolling out a content rating system as its platform — popular among under-15s — deals with sexual material.
  • *DJ Khaled voice* Another one: Business news site Reuters is rolling out a paywall. Meanwhile, The Hustle newsletter remains very very free!
Crypto Funding

Royal blue, what a great color (Source: Chris Delmas / Getty Images)

Coinbase’s venture arm has invested in 100+ startups

A leading non-Dogecoin tech story last week was the public listing of  Coinbase.

Founded in 2012, the profitable crypto exchange now boasts a market cap of $86B.

Less well known…

… the company is a very active investor via its venture arm

Coinbase Ventures was established in the crypto dark days of April 2018 and has since invested in 100+ startups, per The Information.

Unsurprisingly, most of the investments are in the crypto space.

Here are some notable startups the company backs:

  • Compound Labs: A platform that allows people to earn interest from cryptocurrencies
  • Minimum Spanning Technologies: A permanent digital storage service
  • Zora Labs: A marketplace for limited edition digital tokens
  • Rally: A platform that allows artists to launch digital currencies
  • Amber Group: A Hong Kong-based crypto trading firm

The company’s active venture investing echoes that of other large software players like Salesforce, Google, and — more recently — Stripe. In fact, Coinbase completed 19+ deals just in Q1 2021, making it among the most active crypto investors.

No word yet if it will try to acquire the entire supply of Dogecoin.

Listen to these 2 founders hash out business strategies for growth

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A whole lotta insight on the ins and outs of growing your own business.

Tune in to the Being Boss podcast and kick-start a strategy to grow your business

Follow the journey of Autumn Witt Boyd, CEO of the AWB Firm and expert on growing a business in the digital age. Interviewed by Emily Thompson (another bad*ss founder of multiple businesses) the pod covers:

  • How Autumn cracked the code for sudden, massive growth
  • Autumn’s tips for hiring effective teams and how she finds new employees
  • How to use word-of-mouth to double your revenue
  • How to build long-lasting relationships through cold emailing
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Online Dating

Founder Kim Kaplan (L) and the Snack app (R) (Source: Snack)

A video-first dating app made for Gen Z

Alexa, play Chris Lane’s song with the lyrics: “What’s your name, what’s your sign, what’s your birthday?”

Now, imagine people using this song as part of their dating profile. Think, a teen guy dancing to the song while a text pops up, showing “his name, his sign, his birthday.”

Meet Snack: A video-first dating app with users doing just that. It’s only a few months old and has already raised $3.5M.

The Hustle recently spoke with founder (and former Match Group executive) Kim Kaplan to get the scoop.

Wanted: less messaging, more casual flirting

On most dating apps, the sequence of events is similar: swipe right (or left) on various profiles. Then, feel the pressure to immediately start a semi-witty conversation via DM.

However, younger users, like Gen Zers (today’s largest generation), are doing things differently; once matched on Hinge or Tinder, 2 users then start engaging on Snapchat and Instagram.

Kaplan realized that “users didn’t want the pressure of starting a whole conversation. Instead, they wanted to watch each others’ stories, comment, and casually engage over time.” AKA a white space in the market.

How exactly does Snack work?

First, users create videos and post them to their profiles (similar to TikTok). Users can then scroll through a feed of other peoples’ videos (similar to Instagram). Once two users have “liked” each others’ videos, direct messaging is enabled.

Users are incentivized to keep posting new videos so that other users see more of their personality and have more content to engage with.

So, dancing for love? Let’s go.

Absurd stat of the day

“The pastrami must be amazing.” (Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Hedge fund manager David Einhorn recently typed up an update letter for investors in his fund, Greenlight Capital. In it, Einhorn touches on some of the froth in the current market.

An interesting example is a company called Hometown International. It’s a publicly listed company with a market cap of $100m+.

Here’s the odd thing. The company is a single deli in rural New Jersey with combined sales of $35k+ in the past 2 years.

Even stranger, the same person — a high school wrestling coach — is the company’s largest shareholder as well as its CEO, CFO, and Treasurer.

“The pastrami must be amazing,” Einhorn quips.

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