Ambronite cofounder Mikko Ikola tells Business Insider that his team started the company based on one theory: the healthier you eat, the better you feel.
This stands in stark contrast to Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart’s expansive vision of a world without food, and of hacking nutrition to solve things like world hunger.
Ambronite is simply about saving you time and energy, and helping you lead a more nutritious life.
“We want our customers to not just survive, but to thrive in their daily lives. Our demographics care about their health, and what they eat.”
Ambronite bills itself as a “drinkable supermeal,” and is aimed at the same types of people who are into adventuring, hiking, or fitness. These are not people who are so absorbed in their computer screens that they don’t have time to eat.
Ambronite just closed its first seed round, raising $US600,000 from investors like Jawed Karim, a YouTube cofounder, and Lifeline Ventures. Their total funding stands at $US750,000, with a further $US150,000 coming from grants.
These investors are betting that Ambronite can continue its double-digit month-to-month growth.
The company started in 2013, and launched its first product in May 2014 on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site. The campaign raised $US102,824, and since then Ambronite has sold products to over 30 countries from its website.
Ambronite’s founders come from backgrounds in nutrition, fitness, and the “quantified self” (a movement to make our lives full of trackable data). And the success of the company seems to hinge on whether they can carve out a niche among those communities.
Ambronite is not competing with Soylent on price. Its base monthly subscription is $US84.15 for 10 meals, compared with Soylent’s $US54 for 28 meals. But Ambronite gets its ingredients from organic farms, and only uses “real food,” as Ikola puts it. There is an emphasis on making a “better” meal, from a nutritional standpoint, not a cheaper one.
When I tasted Ambronite, that mission seemed to come through. Ambronite tastes like a product that isn’t artificially sweetened, or made to be inoffensive. You feel like you are drinking nutrition — which is to say, it tastes a bit like hay. The best way I can describe it is a raw protein shake.
Ikola says his company is building a lifestyle. And it does seems that, for all the Soylent similarities, this lifestyle is quite different from the one espoused by Rhinehart and company.
I tried out the Ambronite lifestyle myself, and here is what the experience was like:
I took my first sip, which was earthy and chalky. Ambronite is supposed to make you feel like you are drinking 'real food,' and it does -- specifically plants. While Soylent reminds me of a futuristic oatmeal, Ambronite tastes more like one of those 'green' smoothies, or a mixture of kale and almond milk. But not sweet. By the time I was on my second bottle, I had begun to find its lack of sugar refreshing. The consistency is a bit chalky, familiar to anyone who has had protein shakes.
My main complaint is the aftertaste, which has that clingy feeling you can get with milk. You definitely need a few sips of water at the end to cleanse your mouth. Would I drink it everyday? I personally enjoy food too much, but the convenience factor is hard to deny. And if I were out on something like a long hiking trip, I could see it being useful.
Try Ambronite for yourself -- here's the website.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.