Lots of people in Silicon Valley are trying to cheat death — there are a number of startups aimed at doing just that. It's no wonder one of them is banking on death-swindlers to drop a couple thousand bucks to feel the sweet flow of young blood run through their veins.
Ambrosia, founded in 2016, is charging its users $8,000 to get blood transfusions with blood from young people, CNBC reported. Founder Jesse Karmazin discussed the startup Wednesday during Code Conference — he said about 100 people have already signed up to receive an infusion. You have to be over 35 to receive the transfusion, and while most of the blood comes from teenagers, anyone under 25 is qualified.
This isn't quite the Blood Boy scenario illustrated in a recent episode of Silicon Valley — Ambrosia isn't sending teens to donate their blood to wealthy tech titans in real time. The company buys its sprightly plasma from blood banks, and Karmazin said most of its first customers are of retirement age, according to CNBC.
It's important to note that this is experimental, not a well-proven way to combat aging. Karmazin told Technology Review that "he was inspired by studies on mice that researchers had sewn together, with their veins conjoined, in a procedure called parabiosis."
The Ambrosia site makes no claims that the young blood transfusions will guarantee any net positives — there are just a handful of links to human clinical trials and mouse experimental trials. What's more, there are more links to mouse trials than human ones. But Karmazin hopes to get hundreds of more Ambrosia customers in order to study whether this anti-aging method will actually work.
And it's not unlikely that the startup will attract the likes of wealthy investors — venture capitalist Peter Thiel has already poured millions into anti-aging startups.
"One class of investor, like Fidelity, finds my youthful appearance alarming," Ned David, co-founder of Unity Biotechnology, told the New Yorker. "Another class — the Silicon Valley type, a Peter Thiel — finds anyone who looks over forty alarming."
And it's that revulsion to weathering time that startups like Ambrosia can tap into to ensure the money and blood continues to flow. Even if it's to date based on inconclusive evidence.