Food-Tech Startup Soylent Snags $20 Million in Funding
If Soylent has its way, it's time to get ready for the beginning of the end of food as we know it.
The food-tech has just raised $20 million in Series A funding, the company announced on Wednesday. The bulk of the money is coming from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with Chris Dixon, general partner at the firm, joining Soylent's board.
According to Dixon, the super-engaged online community of Soylent users, including the DIY Soylent site where users share their own meal-replacement recipes, served as huge incentives for Andreessen Horowitz's investment (the firm previously contributed to Soylent's seed funding in 2013).
"Soylent is a community of people who are enthusiastic about using science to improve food and nutrition," writes Dixon in a blog post on the topic. "If you look at Soylent as just a food company, you misjudge the core of the company."
Soylent said in a company blog post that the funding will first and foremost go toward expanding manufacturing and shipping capabilities, with plans to ramp up production to more than 50 times its previous rate. Other focuses will be improving the current product, a nutritional drink, introducing new products and dramatically reducing the price of Soylent from the current cost of $3 per meal. Plus, the company is working on more meta, long-term plans to change the fundamental understanding of food.
"The future of food is not the return to an agrarian society but the transcendence of it," writes Soylent creator and founder Rob Rhinehart, in a blog post of his own on the funding. "I don’t know who was the first farmer, but I want to be the last. We will make food so cheap only the rich will cook."
"Disrupting" the fundamental aspects of modern life -- including food -- is the biggest fantasy imaginable for many Silicon Valley venture capitalists. If Soylent succeeds in revolutionizing food as we know it, for better or worse, Andreessen Horowitz will be able to say that it funded the revolution -- and presumably make a huge return on their investment.