Venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz has bet on meals in a glass eventually taking off, leading a $20m funding round for Los Angeles based start-up Soylent.
Soylent is a powdery food substitute that when mixed with water, said to provide a human being with all of the vitamins, nutrients and minerals needed to survive.
The company has shipped 3m units of the meal substitute since May, yet it has struggled to cope with excessive demand leading to a five-month backlog of orders.
Now with a healthy $20m in tow from Andreessen Horowitz, Lerer Ventures, Index Ventures and other individual investors, the company’s production will be able to respond with demand.
Chief executive Rob Rhinehart told the LA Times that the investment could help Soylent “make serious headway...We feel very fortunate to have our investors really share a vision of having better food in the future.”
Rhinehart created the product, which has been criticised by some as having a bland taste, through much trial and error in order to make an ultra-efficient - and affordable - product that would appeal to a time-pressed consumer.
In a long, lofty blog post on his personal website he explained the mission behind his product:
What is it what we have made? Quality without luxury. The world’s most useful and popular products are deceptively cheap and simple, deftly abstracting away volumes of complexity. This is the dream of Soylent, to be so useful it is taken for granted, like tap water or climate control.The insatiable demand for Soylent is telling. Consumers demand and deserve a food system that is more transparent and more practical. Producers deserve the ability to develop and use new technologies and tools to improve their production. The environment deserves more than a modicum of long term thinking.