Soylent Funding Announcement

second_renaissance

Cross-posted from the Soylent company blog at http://blog.soylent.me/post/64789154918/soylent-funding-announcement

It gives me great pleasure to announce that we have accepted over $1.5 million in seed capital from Andreessen Horowitz, Lerer Ventures, Hydrazine Capital, and Initialized Capital. This is in addition to the now over $1.5 million in pre orders our Crowdhoster campaign has collected since May. We have also not reincorporated since going through Y Combinator meaning Start Fund and the YC partners still own a portion of Soylent.

Like most things in life, I find it preferable to not have more than necessary, and capital is no exception. Given our revenue and vision it certainly would have been possible to raise more, but at this point I am more concerned with the people behind the investment than the money itself, and am very proud to have the support of the people we do. The amount raised was based on our projections and 18 month plan, and should carry us comfortably through the near term of product development, hiring, and the first stages of in house manufacturing, allowing us to lower our costs.

We have also enlisted the help of an illustrious group of advisers, including:

  • Dr. Pi-Sunyer, Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition and Co-Director of the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center
  • Balaji Srinivasan, Co-Founder and CTO of Counsyl, one of the first large-scale applications of genomics in medicine
  • Chris Running, CEO of CytoSport / Muscle Milk

These are humble beginnings for something that is going to be very, very big. Many will dismiss Soylent as a joke, a toy, or judge the book by its cover, but in time people will wonder how we ever got along without engineered foodstuffs.

The first computers could only be used by programmers. The first cars were unusable except by mechanics. Today one practically has to be a nutritionist to manage a balanced diet, and it’s just too much work. It should be automated. Billions of people are collecting recipes, buying ingredients, cooking, and cleaning, all in parallel, not for pleasure, but for survival. How wasteful. Imagine chefs soldering their own smartphones or architects knitting their own clothing. Cooking is a pleasant art for some, but it would be better to have an option, without having to compromise one’s health or wallet.

Soylent is that option. If you’re a food enthusiast you can have a simple healthy meal to hold you over until your next feast. If you’re short on time you can fuel your body in seconds. If you’re trying to save money Soylent is hands down your cheapest option in terms of nutrition per dollar, and will only get cheaper. Soylent is designed from scratch to be as healthy and sustainable as possible, the most refined food in existence. Though too early to tell what the ideal human diet is, it is certainly possible to engineer something better than what most people are living on.

Health is about balance; moderation. I still enjoy all my favorite foods. In fact, my mostly Soylent lifestyle makes my recreational meals more enjoyable than ever, now that I’m not bombarding my senses with the engineered indulgence of fast food. I hope the very idea encourages one to consider how balanced the typical human diet is and the potential of everyone having the means to eat, and live, well.

  • Andrew_notPorC

    I think many people might be wondering whether your capital raise may impact your plans to ‘open source’ your formula.

    • Paul McClancy

      Somewhere along the way he may have “forgot” about that.

      • Aiifa

        It took the poor guy months to realise the importance of excess insoluble fibre, he was probably sagely informed that he won’t be able to pull the same consultancy gigs as say Linus Torvalds, so as a glorified human guinea pig he’ll just try to make money off this before anyone works out what happened.

  • Brett Banks

    Rob, I’m chomping at the bit to get my hands on this stuff. I’m on day 8 of my DIY version and feel great, but I’m certain the ‘real deal’ will be even better. Do you guys have any plans for an affiliate program with Soylent? If so, pleeeeeeaaaaaase sign me up. My story gets better by the day and if Soylent is as good or better than my home brew, I’d love to do affiliate promotions for it.
    Waiting with great anticipation, Sir!!

  • Koen Mooij

    I really think these are the first steps to some great changes in this world. Congratulations again on the many advances you made in this project. Looking forward for any options to get it in Europe.

    Koen

  • Pavel Korolev

    As architecture, music, clothes, paintings and other art were simplified by humanity so will be food. I think restaurants will become food-museums sooner than someone might think. Nutrition-related disorders (e.g. IBS with worldwide prevalence rates ranging from 9–23%) can be solved with Soylent – as no trigger foods will be included in it – thus creating a lot of potential customers (I see myself in first raws). I struggle with nutrition disorder all my life and I really know how difficult it is to cook and eat if you have IBS. One with IBS needs to read a whole lot of guides and books, then forever check product labels in grocery stores and keep a food diary – spending huge part of his life on feeding himself.

    Other than that we need to see that we will not need so much household appliances in our kitchens thus reducing electricity and water usage rates. As we went from hunting to farming, we will go from farming, frozen foods, fast foods & TV-dinners to healthy & efficient food like Soylent. Market jump of sport supplements shows that people are really ready for this, we just need someone brilliant and persistent to make it happen.

    All those comments like “I wish they never raised money because I love cooking” are so selfish and full of fear. People refuse to hear that they will still be able to cook if they want it so much – they are for some reason so afraid to let those routines go. This just shows that they understand that revolution is inevitable and their way hasn’t any chance of winning against efficient products like Soylent.

    Best of luck, Rob.

  • jag sover halvt

    Hey guy, looking forward to stop heating up pre-cooked meatballs with overcooked pasta and downing that with various sodas, ship that lembas-juice to Sweden ASAP!
    Good luck..!

  • cloud9driver

    Are you out of your f’ing gourd? Soylent? It has been done. It was a movie. It was green. Charleton Heston told us what was in it. Why would anyone buy this?

    • Sarah Yidhra

      *facepalm*

      • cloud9driver

        *headdesk*

    • pat

      Your reaction is the same as mine. The tongue in cheek (I suspect) nod to soylent green which secretly was made of people who check themselves out of a miserable existence where the establishment dole out soylent green and red on various days to the mass minions, is far from appetizing or appealing. Besides that, there apparently are many who are unaware of the negative effects of soy and canola oil on the thyroid and overall health. The controlled media only spread nutritional propaganda that suits the industrial concerns and this is where most get their information. It takes far longer for truth to get out and become accepted when the system isn’t saying so.
      looking down at sarahs big ol man hand.. heheh..Face palms, the new means of stifling opinion. Clever.

  • scott norvell

    Am I the only one who wonders about the humanitarian potential for such a product? The logistics of moving a sustainable diet into conflict zones and remote, but populated, regions, is a nightmare. I hope the right people are paying attention.

    • nhr215

      Ensure. People already send this as humanitarian assistance. ITs also a lot cheaper than this ridiculous “invention” that is clearly nothing more than a get-rich-quick scheme.

  • DevilWorld

    I want it! 365 daily rations please

  • Min Utopia

    facebook account ? please add .. i see the potential in this ..thanks

  • Min Utopia

    add me in facebook ..thanks ..see the potential in this …

  • CattleHerder

    People like you, who have the balls to do something this radical, are the vanguard of the humankind. Ignore the haters. Congrats and good luck!

    • nhr215

      What are you talking about? Vanguard of human kind? Is this a joke? It a nutritional supplement. Its not curing cancer. Its a kid trying sell nutritional supplements. Hello, there are literally 1,000 of these healthy shake meal replacements already on the market. Oh my god.

      • CattleHerder

        I’ve been looking for these healthy shake COMPLETE meal replacements for years, including unsuccessfully asking on this very forum. Kindly point me to one (just one).

        • nhr215

          I eat real food so I couldn’t tell you. I’m not sure the differences among them are greater than the differences between synthesized meal replacements and real food. But there is Myoplex by EAS, which is widely used. Its a meal replacement designed by the Body For Life guy. There is also Ensure, which is what doctor’s recommend for Alzheimers and Dementia patents who can’t eat. Both are well rounded in terms of macro-nutrients and you can certainly live off of it.

          But I hate to tell you, nothing is a replacement for real food. Added Vitamins (like in Soylent) does not equal fruits and vegetables.

          • CattleHerder

            I probably should downvote the whole thread, because this is like a broken record that keeps going on. Can’t you guys read?

            These are performance meals and medical foods. Note the word COMPLETE in caps. I keep asking the other folks with the same argument the same question, and they again point to supplements.

            “Nothing is a replacement for real food”. Duh! This is what the project is about, to come up with a replacement for real food. Not supplements.

            Do the fruits and vegetables contain some kind of metaphysical substance that can’t be analysed? Like “planes are stupid because only the birds can fly”?

            Why would anyone need a replacement for real food? Plenty of reasons. Custom-tailored optimised nutrition, preservation of natural resources, even space exploration.

          • nhr215

            Myoplex is a meal replacement. Ensure is a meal replacement. They’ve both been around for DECADES! Millions of people live on these types of meal replacements exclusively for whatever reason (convenience, illness, time saving, etc.) Its been done and it exists and has for a long time.

            All I am telling you is that every piece of medical and nutritional science on the planet having to do with food and nutrition says there is no substituting for actual fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens. They are loaded thousands of different types of micronutrients which are destroyed when processed. And they work in combination so you can’t just isolate one particular sub-compound and get the benefit of the whole. And the benefits are tremendous. Huge decreases in risk factors for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, pretty much every disease of civilization.

            If you’re getting the same message over and over its because you’re not receiving the information. There is no magical processing technique that is going to magically reverse the laws of biology.

            Instead of hoping for some fantasy “real food replacement” why not study up on all the studies on nutrition which basically make it ABUNDANTLY clear that if you want to prevent disease the best course of action food-wise is to eat as many fresh fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens as possible. All the science agrees on this. Whether meat is necessary, or if grains are necessary, or how much fat is good, etc. is all debatable, the science is mixed. But there is literally no debate on the importance FRESH GREENS, VEGETABLES AND FRUITS.

            Why is this so hard to comprehend. Processing of any kind kills the micro-nutrients. Yes you can still get carbs, protein, and fat. That’s wonderful. And you can survive on it (i.e. Ensure Myoplex, etc.) but it does not replace the benefits of fresh fruits, greens, and vegetables.

            Personally I try to eat as much as that stuff as I can every day, because I’m not looking simply for food that will sustain me but for food that will maximize my health.

            If you just want simple meal replacement, go to McDonalds every day. Its food. Its quick. Its cheap. Its got all your basic needs covered.

            Oy vey.

          • CattleHerder

            You’re actually right about Myoplex, it is designed to replace meals (not just supplement). I was looking at a different product.

            That said, I’m not sure why you keep assigning some kind of metaphysical attributes to the micronutrients. So they are destroyed when processed. Design a different way to process, or recreate these structures then! Or someone ruled that they are impossible to analyse?

          • nhr215

            The problem is we don’t understand enough to know what to do differently. Almost every time we’ve tried to isolate things from healthy foods it has turned out to have no beneficial effect and in some cases unhealthy effects. The bottom line is our understanding is poor. Food is actually quite complex. The method of picking nutrients and trying to control for them in the hopes of recreating the benefits of the whole food have been a disastrous failure.

            I’m not saying its impossible, just that we don’t know enough yet and the research is way way way behind the point where we can do this. It would be like saying “why can’t we just adjust neurons so that we are all geniuses.” Maybe one day we can but we are like decades away from even understanding how the brain works beyond our primitive understanding of the function massive structures that contain literally trillions of nerve endings.

            I appreciate your faith in technological innovation but you don’t seem to appreciate how little we know. Our understanding is pretty basic. Biology is pretty complex. Its not a man-made software program where we know all the variables and can control them. We don’t even know what the variables. We’re trying to reverse engineer something WAY more complex than man has ever created. We’re still trying to figure what it is inside these fruits and vegetables are so beneficial and in what combinations they are beneficial.

            Maybe some day, but not today. And I would suggest that trying to do this based on such limited understanding is much more likely to lead to sub-optimal and harmful results versus beneficial ones. So far that has been the case (eg lets isolate soy and make lots of food out of it, its so good for heart disease, oh weight it actually contributes to breast cancer… whoops!)

          • CattleHerder

            Sure, biology is extremely complex and the understanding is limited, but the studies alone without blind and even foolhardy experimentation are a guarantee the progress will keep moving at a glacial pace.

            The biggest thing about Rob’s project, IMO, is that many people are willing to take risks experimenting with the ingredients, providing a base for the same studies (even if the evidence is incomplete and anecdotal).

          • nhr215

            Well if its anecdotal its basically useless. If he were part of a legitimate research team (you know, with people trained biology research) conducting randomized double-blind placebo controlled studies, that would be much much more interesting. As far as I can tell he’s just some random guy with no qualifications whatsoever that has decided to make his own meal replacement and market the hell out of it. That’s fine. But let’s not pretend that’s science. Its some dude’s pet project. So be it. Let’s not pretend its the second coming of Christ.

          • CattleHerder

            It’s a start. It’s already far from a pet project. Sometimes, science has to play catch-up with stupid, naive experiments.