In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Total funding for the two-year-old web merchant exceeds $28 million and the new capital will go toward new products, web site upgrades and an East Coast distribution center.
NatureBox Inc., a web-only retailer of healthy snacks announced today it has raised another $18 million in a Series B funding round. That brings total funding for the company, which began selling online in January 2012, to over $28 million.
The e-retailer sells by subscription, offering three sizes of boxes that range in price from $19.95 to $49.95 per month. The company sold 50,000 boxes of its snack products in 2012 and 1 million boxes in 2013, says CEO Gautam Gupta.
“We are a leader in creating this direct-to-consumer brand and changing the way snacks are sold,” Gupta says.
He says NatureBox will use the funding to add products and categories, to make shopping the web site easier and to build a new distribution facility in order to fulfill orders more quickly to consumers on the East Coast. The e-retailer’s sole shipping warehouse is in California. Gupta says the new one will be in the Ohio River Valley, an area that extends from eastern Illinois to Pennsylvania.
NatureBox develops the products it sells and is steadily adding more, Gupta says. NatureBox.com now offers about 120 SKUs, and is adding five to 10 per month.
Consumers can specify the types of snacks they want. “If they tell us they’re vegan or need gluten-free products we can recommend products that meet their dietary needs,” he says. “A large part of our focus on improving the web experience is around improving the quality of our recommendations and making it very easy for the customer to personalize their future orders.”
That ability to quickly learn what subscribers like is part of what makes NatureBox an appealing investment, says Warren Lee, a general partner at Canaan Partners, which led this funding round. “Over time the subscriber can indicate to NatureBox the the things they like and don’t like. That gives NatureBox the ability to make sure they deliver the right things to the right consumers so they’re happy and will return and buy more,” Lee says.
Also participating in this funding round are existing investors General Catalyst Partners and Softback Capital. NatureBox raised $2 million in 2012 and another $8.5 million in July 2013.
Gupta says the company, based in San Carlos, CA, has 60 employees now and plans to add another 20 or 30 this year.