"The only way to solve the problem is to give consumers what they know they want, and make it our job to find a better way to produce it and find a better technology than cows and other animals," said Brown.
A few years later, the Impossible team believed they'd discovered the solution in a molecule called heme. Found in abundance in both animals and plants, the molecule is responsible for carrying oxygen in living organisms and giving blood its red color. By augmenting the molecule in plants, researchers found they could create a product that looks and tastes like meat.
And so, in 2016, the Impossible Burger was born.
By using plants rather than traditional meat, Impossible Food's website claims production of one of its burgers saves the equivalent of 75 square feet of land, one half tub of bathwater and 18 miles of emissions in a car compared to a regular beef patty.
Having developed that technology, Brown said his company had to be the one to get it out to burger lovers — in spite of his own lack of business experience.
"I didn't want to trust that just some regular business would do it right," said Brown.
Fortunately for Brown, however, investors saw something in his proposition. Over the years, the business has racked up $396 million from backers including Bill Gates, Google Ventures and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Horizons Ventures.