Formerly at Verifone and Motorola, Shah has spent more than a
decade scaling up tech companies to achieve breakthrough growth
Shah will help Impossible Foods dramatically increase production in
its Oakland plant — and continue breakout growth with new
REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Impossible Foods announced today the hiring of tech industry veteran
Sheetal Shah as Senior Vice President, Product and Operations.
Effective immediately, Shah will oversee important business units of the
food tech startup including product, operations, manufacturing, supply
chain and logistics.
Shah was previously Chief Operations Officer at Verifone, where he
oversaw global operations including supply chain, customer care, quality
and program management for customers in more than 150 countries.
Before that, Shah served in numerous leadership roles at Motorola
Mobility, a $10 billion mobile device company acquired by Google. Among
other positions, Shah served as Chief Procurement Officer, responsible
for end-to-end global supplier management including all commercial and
operational aspects including supplier new technology readiness.
“I’m a huge fan of the Impossible Burger and am thrilled to join a
company whose mission I believe in passionately,” Shah said. “Impossible
Foods created the hottest product in the hottest category of food —
plant-based meat. My goal is to accelerate the company’s scaleup to meet
today’s unprecedented demand and long-term growth.”
Impossible Foods has experienced tremendous growth since the
launch of the award-winning
good” Impossible Burger 2.0 in January 2019. The Impossible Burger
is now sold in more than 7,000 restaurants in the United States and Asia.
Growth has come from every sales category where Impossible Foods does
business — independent restaurants, large restaurant chains such as
White Castle, Qdoba and Red Robin, and non-commercial outlets such as
theme parks, museums, stadiums and college campuses nationwide.
A 59-unit regional test of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King
restaurants in St. Louis is going exceedingly
well. Burger King plans to bring
the Impossible Whopper to all 7,200 US restaurants at the end of
In addition to an increasing number of outlets that sell the Impossible
Burger, many restaurants are expanding the number of items made from the
versatile plant-based meat; average per-store volume is increasing.
Sales have increased more than three-fold in Asia over the past two
As a result, Impossible Foods is increasing the number of hours of
operation and headcount at the plant in Oakland, Calif. The plant now
employs about 70 full-time employees and is aggressively recruiting
additional new hires to work in Oakland for a variety of functions,
including workers for a planned third shift.
In addition, Impossible Foods plans to install a second production line
in July that should double current capacity. The company expects the
second line to be fully staffed and ramped up in the fall. (See job
Food tech startup with unusually diverse team
Shah started his career at Motorola as a software engineer, where he
designed and shipped automatic speech recognition and voice annotation
technology for Motorola handsets. He holds multiple patents.
Shah, who lives in California’s Silicon Valley, has Bachelors and
Masters degrees in electrical engineering from the University of
Florida. He reports directly to Impossible Foods’ President Dennis
Woodside, who joined the company earlier this year with nearly 25 years
of professional experience at both startups and publicly traded
Impossible Foods’ executive team includes executives with an unusually
diverse range of backgrounds, including government, academia and the
food sector, as well as “hypergrowth” startups Dropbox, Google and Tesla.
Shah and Woodside are the latest high-profile appointments at Impossible
Foods. Earlier this year, Impossible Foods announced
the appointment of its seventh board member, Vanessa Wittman, a
former public-company chief financial officer now serving as chair of
Impossible Foods’ finance committee.
Delicious, nutritious, ubiquitous
Impossible Foods uses modern science and technology to create delicious
and nutritious food, help restore natural ecosystems, and feed a growing
population sustainably. The company makes meat from plants – with a much
smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.
To satisfy the global demand for meat at a fraction of the environmental
impact, Impossible Foods developed a far more sustainable, scalable, and
affordable way to make meat, without the catastrophic
environmental impact of livestock.
Shortly after its founding in 2011, Impossible Foods’ scientists
discovered that one molecule — “heme”
— is uniquely responsible for the explosion of flavors that results when
meat is cooked. Impossible Foods’ scientists genetically
engineer and ferment yeast to produce a heme protein naturally found
in plants, called soy leghemoglobin.
The heme in Impossible Burger is identical
to the essential heme humans have been consuming for hundreds of
thousands of years in meat — and while the Impossible Burger delivers
all the craveable depth of beef, it uses far fewer resources because
it’s made from plants, not animals.
When consumers buy an Impossible Burger instead of a burger from cows,
they reduce their impact across every significant environmental
category, including use of land and freshwater, greenhouse gas
emissions, and aquatic pollution from runoff.
According to the objective, third party-validated report from Quantis,
Impossible Burger is vastly better for the planet than ground beef from
cows. Compared to beef from cows, Impossible Burger requires 87% less
water and releases 89% less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Impossible Burger also spares 96% more land and habitat for nature and
biodiversity, and it contributes 92% less water contamination, the major
cause of “dead zones” in our oceans.
According to a study published in the
Journal Science, eating less animal meat is the single most
effective way one can help reduce his or her impact on earth. Every
person who swaps out one pound of ground beef for one pound of
Impossible’s plant-based meat can personally save seven pounds of
greenhouse gas emissions, 290 square-feet of land and 90 gallons of
About Impossible Foods
Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious,
nutritious meat and dairy products from plants — with a much smaller
environmental footprint than meat from animals. The privately held
company was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Emeritus of Biochemistry at Stanford University and a former Howard
Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Investors include Khosla
Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking
Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy