Who needs warm, delicious food when you can have nutritionally-balanced supplementary paste? That’s pretty much the whole idea behind Soylent, a two-year-old company that offers affordable alternatives to regular food that come in the form of a well-balanced smoothie. It may not sound appealing to some of you, but the company has remained profitable, pulling in millions of dollars a month through subscriptions, and it just pulled in $20 million in new funding in order to help expand its offerings.
The funding couldn’t have come at a better time, because even though the company has been pretty damn successful, it’s still facing some major supply issues that have made it so that orders could take several months to be fulfilled. With this funding, Soylent will be able to ship its products at a much more reasonable speed and even bring the price down to under two bucks a meal, something that’s essential if the company wants to continue growing.
“In addition to improving the current product and introducing new products, the focus will be on dramatically reducing the price of Soylent, from the current $3 per meal to a fraction of that. We are very excited to continue working with [founder] Rob [Rhinehart] and his team on this important project,” said a16z partner and primary investor Chris Dixon, on his blog.
Soylent launched as a Kickstarter project nearly two years ago, raising $1.5 million in funding not too long after that. While its fish oil and nutrient power smoothies were initially advertised as a meal replacement, Dixon describes the product as being more of an alternative to unhealthy fast food. The smoothie tastes a bit like cake batter and comes packed with all of the nutrient you need to maintain a healthy diet. Soylent has even adjusted the recipe to reduce the “digestive issues” that some customers were complaining of in the product’s earlier days.
“With this funding, our team will have the opportunity to accomplish many of our short and long-term business goals,” said the company on its official blog. “First and foremost, we will be significantly expanding our manufacturing and shipping capabilities. This process has already begun with two new manufacturers that will ramp up our production to more than fifty times its previous rate allowing us to vigorously tackle our order backlog while working toward imminent real-time shipping fulfillment.”