Meal-replacement startup Soylent may soon close a $10 million round of funding led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.
Soylent, which chose its name as a nod to ’70s sci-fi film Soylent Green, is a meal-replacement paste that the startup claims contains all the necessary components of a well-balanced and nutritious meal. (See also: a real version of the slop served to Neo the first time he eats a “real” meal in The Matrix.) The idea behind Soylent is that you no longer have to worry about what to eat on a daily basis — and a month’s worth of Soylent ($70) is also much cheaper than a month’s worth of groceries.
Andreessen Horowitz declined comment to VentureBeat, and Soylent has yet to respond to our inquires. The funding itself could raise Soylent’s valuation to an estimated $100 million, according Re/code, which first reported the news earlier today.
If the nutritional value of the product can legitimately serve as a replacement for real food, it could seriously help solve the persistent global problem of hunger. It’s pretty easy to understand why investors would be interested in giving Soylent a decently large chunk of funding.
But there’s also a big obstacle on Soylent’s road to success: Not everyone agrees that the product is legitimately healthy as a long-term meal replacement (there’s an argument that it should be classified as a nutritional supplement). A $10 million investment would give Soylent the resources it needs to verify its nutritional claims, or to develop an improved formula so that it can be confirmed as an actual replacement for regular food.