California-based vegan brand Beyond Meat has hired investment banking companies J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse to lead an initial public offering (IPO), according to media outlet CNBC. The move would make Beyond Meat the first vegan company to sell shares on the public stock market. The startup launched its Beyond Burger in 2016 and has since sold more than 25 million burgers, recently expanding into Europe and Asia. The growth has attracted an impressive list of private investors such as Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, and meat company Tyson. According to CNBC, the IPO means Beyond Meat is interested in tapping into the public’s growing interest in plant-based meat alternatives, a category that grew by 22 percent last year (while the traditional meat industry only expanded by two percent). Last month, Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown was honored by the United Nations with a “Champion of the Earth” award for creating a sustainable alternative to beef, an environmentally damaging industry that the UN said, “has brought us to the verge of catastrophe.”

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