LOS ANGELES — Rob Rhinehart, founder of meal replacement brand Soylent, is stepping down as chief executive officer of parent company Rosa Labs, L.L.C. Bryan Crowley, who joined the company as president in June, has assumed the role of c.e.o.
Mr. Rhinehart, who launched the brand in 2014, will remain involved with the company as executive chairman, he said in a company blog posting.
“I have seen the company evolve with scale and done my best to guide it toward my vision and support those involved,” he said. “Along the way I have seen my role as c.e.o. evolve, especially enjoying the process of delegating my responsibilities to more skilled and experienced scientists, managers and executives. These specialists are clearly better at their roles than I would be, especially if I were handling tons of other responsibilities simultaneously, which is the exciting early stage of a start-up. But that time has passed.”
Before joining Soylent, Mr. Crowley was chief strategy officer at KeVita, a business acquired by PepsiCo, Inc. in December 2016. Earlier in his career, Mr. Crowley was president and c.e.o. at VEEV Spirits and chief marketing officer at Pabst Brewing Co. He also has held positions at Conagra Brands Inc. and Anheuser-Busch Companies L.L.C. He graduated in 1995 from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, with a communications and journalism degree.
“When Rob asked me to step into the c.e.o. role, I told him I had one condition; I would only do it if he would continue to partner with me to help bring our vision to life,” Mr. Crowley said in the blog posting.
In the past year, Soylent has expanded its reach, becoming one of the fastest-growing brands on Amazon.com and enjoying strong results in a test with 7-Eleven, Mr. Crowley said.
Mr. Rhinehart and other company founders established the business while working on other start-ups and “living off a diet of frozen corn dogs and ramen,” according to the company.
As an experiment, the group developed Soylent as an experiment that generated widespread interest.
A $3 million crowdfunded campaign in 2013 was the largest crowdfunded campaign ever, the company said, and was followed by a $20 million Series A capital raise in 2015 led by Andreesen Horowitz. Another $50 million was raised in May 2017 led by GV (formerly Google Ventures).
Products offered by the company include Soylent powder, a Soylent bar and ready-to-drink bottles, including original, cacao, nectar and Coffiest, which the company said combines breakfast and morning coffee in a single product.
“Rob proved that you can use smart science and deliver an affordable and sustainable food in a powder form that you could actually live off of,” Mr. Crowley said. “His continued support is invaluable, and we are all indebted to his passion and commitment for the company he created and the community he cultivated.“I look forward to working with him in his new role in the months and years to come. And thanks again to the Soylent community; I am excited to continue getting to know you in my role as c.e.o. as we work together to change the way the world looks at food.”