Rob Rhinehart portrays Dennis Dowley in Space Siblings.
Soylent creator and founder Rob Rhinehart doesn’t think small. With his nutritionally complete food replacement drink, Rhinehart is challenging people to rethink life at its most fundamental level – food. The Georgia-native’s entrepreneurial trajectory begins in a familiar start-up setting, San Francisco’s tech scene. Working on a struggling start-up, the young software engineer was living in the closet of a two-bedroom apartment he shared with his two co-founders. Noticing that their grocery bill was taking the biggest chunk of their expenses each month, Rhinehart started looking for a more efficient way to meet his daily nutritional needs. What proceeded was a self-education in food science fueled by a course of self-experimentation. Using himself as a test subject, Rhinehart developed his new super-food, tinkering with the formula as he went to achieve the greatest nutritional capacity possible. On February 13, 2013, he posted his 30-day experiment on his blog, as well as the nutritional information and original formula of his final product. He continued to tweak his personal formula over the following two months, posting updates to his blog as he went. After three months drinking his concoction, named “Soylent” after Harry Harrion’s 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room!, Rhinehart felt healthier than ever before. Theorizing that others might be interested in his efficient new food, he started a crowdfunding campaign to bring the powdered drink to market. After raising $3 million on Tilt, he raised another $1.5 million in venture capital to further develop proof of concept. Soylent went into production in April 2014, out of Rosa Labs, using a small $500 system for the first $2.6 million worth of product. In January 2015, Soylent raised a $20 million Series A funding round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation for Lerer Ventures, Index Ventures, and David Friedberg. The new investment was channeled towards expanding manufacturing, as well as further research. The product has continued to evolve since it’s first shipments in May 2014. Three powdered incarnations have culminated in Soylent 1.5, now entirely vegan with 45/40/15 carbohydrate/fat/protein ratio and a glycemic index of 65. In August 2015, the company introduced Soylent 2.0, a bottled, ready-to-drink version of the meal replacement beverage.
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