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Beyond Meat CEO after soaring IPO: 'I'm not going to look every day at the stock price'

Daniel Roberts
Senior Writer

It turns out Wall Street was ravenous for vegan burgers.

Beyond Meat shares skyrocketed after the company’s IPO on the Nasdaq on Thursday, up more than 175% in the first few hours to $68.

Amid the frenzy, CEO Ethan Brown said he was “elated” but insisted, “I’m not the CEO that’s going to look every day at the stock price.”

Brown, in an interview with Yahoo Finance just minutes after Beyond Meat, a plant-based meat-substitute company, started trading, said, “We really are focused on our business and on executing against our strategy. I’m going to try to drive the growth and value of the business by focusing on the fundamentals.”

He did add that he is happy “to see the markets reward us” for Beyond Meat’s “almost manic pace of innovation.”

Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown, center, watches as his company's stock begins to trade following its IPO at Nasdaq, Thursday, May 2, 2019 in New York. California-based Beyond Meat makes burgers and sausages out of pea protein and other ingredients. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan).

Of course, there is some recent precedent here of much-hyped IPOs soaring at first and then quickly cooling. Lyft (LYFT) closed its first day of trading up 9% but is since down 19% from its debut price, and the company faces multiple lawsuits accusing it of overstating its market position before the IPO.

The other hot April IPOs have fared better: Pinterest (PINS) shares are up 50% since its April 18 debut; video conferencing business Zoom (ZM) is up 101%; and African ecommerce site Jumia (JMIA) is up 190%.

Source: Yahoo Finance

One factor potential investors may consider: Beyond Meat isn’t yet profitable. The company lost $30 million in 2018. Of course, Pinterest and Lyft aren’t profitable either, and that didn’t dull the frenzy on their IPO days.

Brown sounds confident his company won’t fall victim to short-lived hype. Beyond Meat, he says, is in a “$1.4 trillion market that has seen very little disruptive innovation recently, or throughout history really. We bring a new technology into the marketplace, a new approach, that enables people to continue to consume all the products they love—whether burgers, sausage, etc.—but do it in a way that’s a little better for them and a little better for the planet. What that does is create competition as we have success... I like competition, particularly as long as we’re winning.”

Daniel Roberts is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance who often covers food and coffee. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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