Soylent’s Next Chapter


#1

From the http://blog.soylent.me/

We are thrilled to announce that Soylent has received :moneybag: $20 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Lerer Ventures, Index Ventures and individual investors including David Friedberg, CEO of The Climate Corporation. Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will also join Soylent’s board. This is a huge leap forward for our company, and we are humbled by the trust our investors and all of you have put in Soylent as we continue to grow.

With this funding, our team will have the opportunity to accomplish many of our short and long-term business goals. 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. As always, we will also continue our ongoing product development efforts and biotechnology research to provide you with the most efficient, sustainable staple food on the market.

Like most start-ups, we have experienced growing pains, running the gamut from product development to fulfillment issues. Working with Chris Dixon, the entire Andreessen Horowitz team, and all of our seed and angel investors has been an invaluable experience for our organization. Their guidance and support has been instrumental in our progress thus far, and will continue to be as our business grows and evolves.

Below please find posts from Rob and Chris Dixon that explain this deal in detail and what it means for Soylent and the food tech industry:

http://robrhinehart.com/?p=1192

http://cdixon.org/2015/01/14/soylent/


#2

Amazing.
August 13th 2014, I’m sure I’ll get mine soon!


#3

Congratulations! Hopefully Operations ramp up and all this negativity is dispersed. Love your product. Good luck!


#4

Looking beyond the solving of immediate shipping problems (including internationally), other opportunities can start to present themselves. For example, the flavor pack idea floated by some can be contemplated. Once the gas issue is solved (Sorry to beat that dead horse, but it is an obstacle, especially to this idea), I think it would be great if there were “Soylent stores,” where you could buy an individual drink. Or maybe a Soylent machine, like a specialized soda fountain, that can be in snack bars or cafeteria. I think the flavor pack idea would need to be solved first, so that a customer could say, “One large chocolate Soylent, please,” or whatever, and get it. Like Starbucks. Obviously, they first need to develop systemic solutions to the problems with shipping, management, general organization (i.e., losing orders), and gas, and they’ll need to develop new organizational branches like legal, since fatuous law suits could happen and will need to be addressed. But for the “next chapter,” we can start imagining Soylent and access to it as we would reasonably hope for it to be. And imagine it cheaper, too…


#5

cdixon.org mentioned in the last paragraph the following:

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 Rob and his team on this important project.


#6

This is an extraordinarily encouraging merger of purpose and capability.


#7

That right there will be the key. Price and shipping times is what is holding a lot of people back from even trying Soylent.


#8

That is one the top 2 things I’ve been wanting to see with Soylent: international availability + cheaper price. I know it’s always been their intention - it’s just felt like a long time coming. It’s such great news to hear! :smile:

:sunrise_over_mountains:

(I have made a few posts in the past, saying that the price still needs to come down a lot more, while many argued against me. Feels good being justified. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: )


#9

Sweet! If they can get the price bellow $2 a meal, I’ll start buying.

I wish I could see a rough outline of their “plan” for the next 12 months or so, just to get an idea of what we’re in for.


#10

I find formula improvements and vector of moving to food producing only with air, water, and light to be much more interesting than price change. Just think about this as a kind of “Bill Gates factory” that makes food with algae from inputs that costs relatively nothing.

Current price is already roughly equal to minimum hourly wage in many US states. It’s a dream to at least 75% of the World to “earn” a daily food (with delivery) in just one hour of labor. Nobody is saying that it’s a bad idea to decrease price, but I wouldn’t put in top 5 priorities :smile:


#11

“Interesting” is a different metric - and I do like those angles, indeed. :smile: Price still is a big deal for many, though, and it’s annoying to see it poo-pooed by some - especially after what Rob and Chris have just stated.

I’m an international user - my current price works out to much more than what you folks in the USA pay. Price is firmly my #1 priority. I can’t afford to continue with it for much longer, as my budget won’t allow it long-term. I’m extremely happy that the people in charge are with those [potential] customers who are like me, on this point. :sunny:

Regardless of where people stand on prices, interests, fulfilment, etc., this is surely good news for everyone, looking forward. It feels like we’re about to take a big leap ahead here. Across the board, more options are going to open up. :sunrise:


#12

@Soylent - so… Europe?


#13

I sure hope so!

I think it’s easiest for them to first ship to Canada, currently. However, if they’re looking to procure additional manufacturing locations (which I bet is their next step), then somewhere in Europe feels to be the next logical step.

Then the proverbial floodgates really open.


#14

While I applaud the desire to reduce prices, it might also be wise to get a decent order handling system in place. The combination of slow orders and a near total inability to get any information about your place in the queue becomes toxic.

Case in point: August 9 order date, which implies it should be shipping soon. But I’ve heard nothing, and the shipment tracker isn’t showing any kit tracking e-mails sent out in about two weeks. So… are things shipping? Or is there another silent delay due to another reformulation, or a change to more efficient processes, or is this just a fluke and none of the people who have received kit tracking e-mails bothered to put it up on the board?


#15

I think the price thing will sort itself out when they have efficiencies (both technical and quantity). First, they have to make this a normal consumer product with on-demand shipping, international, etc.

Eve


#16

To me it looks like the main priorities can be split into two groups: 1. product improvement and 2. Getting that product to as many people as possible. Since the product is already functional, lowering prices and shipping faster/farther are what I’ve been hoping for the most. The majority of people who want Soylent can’t really get it, and that hurts Soylent’s ability to expand and improve.

In summery, I guess I tend believe that current demand should be met (priority group 2) before taking steps to increase that demand (priority group 1). The increased income could then be used to further research.


#17

International shipping should be possible soon then I hope ! :smiley:


#18

Hopefully they can use some of that money to come up with a non-fart formula soon.

After the quick succession of V1.1-V1.2-V1.3 I’m hoping there coming out with this in the near future.


#19

I am so excited about this. For years I’ve wondered why we didn’t have a sort of “dog food” but for people. Something that is complete nutrition in a single item that’s relatively cheap and easy. Especially Once Futurama came out, my partner and I have been saying “Where’s our Bachelor Chow??” When I heard about Soylent, it was a dream come true! I love to cook but I don’t have TIME. And I’m a picky eater so I don’t eat as much of a variety as I should, or eat as many vegetables as I should. With Soylent, I get a completely balanced meal with zero effort. I can’t ask more than that.

Sure, the gas isn’t great, but it’s not the worst thing ever and I have faith they’ll work it out eventually. And while it would be cool if price went down, I’d rather help support theiron R&D to do all the cool things they hope to do (all our food from algae?? Awesome). And if they DO lower the price, I’d like the option to pay extra to help them distribute their product to countries full of starving families.

Soylent has the opportunity to save the world and I’m so happy to be a part of it :smile:


#20

Hopefully this means that within six months RL will be able to actually sell their product.