Soylent is a liquid food replacement that aims to deliver a full allotment of a human being's daily nutritional needs. It's cobbled together from basic ingredients like maltodextrin, rice protein, and potassium gluconate. Its founder Rob Rhinehart subsisted on the drink alone for 30 days as a proof of concept. Rhinehart, an alum of the influential tech startup bootcamp Y-combinator, meticulously blogged the experience, warts and all - at one point he experienced joint aches as a result of a sulfur deficiency - and won a devoted following. He's now soliciting data from some 50 beta testers to refine the product, which is currently at version 0.8.
The company, which is based in Oakland, has already surpassed $1 million in pre-orders, and is about to begin mass-producing Soylent and shipping to consumers by the end of September. He's also fielding meetings with VCs, who've no doubt seen the explosive and he's getting ready to mass produce the finalized Soylent formula. His project has also engendered a grassroots effort amongst DIY food drink hackers - people across the nation are sharing their own Soylent recipes.
The end goal is to make a cheap, nutritious alternative for people who don't have the time or the means to eat well. Rhinehart is aiming for nothing less than to change the way we eat; he imagines a future where meals of solid food are largely recreational, and only eaten a few times a day. He also hopes his product will be a boon to the hungry - when production scales up, he hopes to sell a day's worth of Soylent for just $5.