Jan 14, 2015 · 1 minute
Soylent has raised $20 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Lerer Ventures, and other venture capitalists to keep up with demand for its meal-replacing nutritional shakes.*
The funding, which is thought to have been raised at a valuation between $100 million and $150 million, will be used to continue developing Soylent's product and streamline a supply chain struggling to produce the 1 million packets bought by consumers last year.

Perhaps the funding will also be used to improve Soylent's production standards -- a Vice documentary revealed in November 2013 that rats scurry around the warehouse in which the blend is made. A reporter also received a packet with mold in it, among other nauseating issues.

Soylent has also been tinkering with its blend to offer the most essential nutrients while preserving some level of palatability. Some of its customers found that the blend made them experience "increased flatulence" and headaches after they drank too much of it.

The beverage has garnered mixed reviews. Business Insider collected testimonials from a number of Soylent drinkers who profess their love of Soylent because it's cheap and easy to make. The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt, on the other hand, had a far worse experience. (I haven't tried Soylent, because I prefer my dubious food comes from Chinese restaurants.)

But that hasn't stopped the company from working to "disrupt food" -- now you see why a bunch of venture capitalists invested in a food company -- by making it easier to get most essential nutrients from a cheap product with a long shelf-life.

A lot of coverage about Soylent ends with caveats about where it would be useful, such as in disaster areas or famine-stricken countries. That alone makes me wary about the blend -- who wants to drink something when the strongest argument in support of it is "well, it would be great if we literally didn't have anything else to eat"?

Apparently a fair number of people actually want Soylent in their lives, and many of them don't seem to be drinking it as an experiment, like many reporters are. I'm not convinced that Soylent is the future of food, but it seems to have sucked at least a few people into its vision for the future. Now it has the resources to work toward that future more safely.

*Some investors at Andreessen Horowitz and Lerer independently invested in Pando.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]