Today's Most Innovative Company: NatureBox Leverages Big Data to Build A Snack-Recommendation Engine

The company closed an $8.5 million Series A round led by General Catalyst and SoftBank Capital to accelerate growth.

Fresh off closing a $8.5 million Series A round Tuesday, NatureBox is poised to expand its engineering team, tap into big data to build a snack-recommendation engine, and expand its product line in order to bring healthy snacking to the forefront.

For $20 a month, NatureBox sends subscribers a box of nutritious snacks that are free from ingredients the health-conscious have come to loathe (and are so common on supermarket shelves): high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial coloring, partially hydrogenated oils, and trans fats. Because a quarter of calories Americans consume come from snacking, NatureBox's mission is to provide healthy alternatives. All snacks, which are repackaged and rebranded by the company, are vetted and approved by an in-house nutritionist as well as a panel of experts.

"Most consumers snack and make their decisions based on convenience, so they eat whatever's close by, sitting on their desk or pantry," CEO and cofounder Gautam Gupta told Fast Company. "We think part of the reason the business has been able to grow as quickly as it has is consumers like the idea of making snacking healthy and convenient."

By the end of the year, the goal is to increase the number of shipments to more than 1 million, its line of snacks to 100 from 80, and its staff to 45 from 35. NatureBox has been experimenting with a beta feature to personalize snack recommendations for users.

The Series A round would enable the company to continue focusing on these efforts based on consumer interactions with the site. "One of the goals we have is to use the data we have to understand who our customers are and what types of foods they like to create a better system for recommendations," Gupta said.

Will NatureBox be on the next list of the world's Most Innovative Companies?

[Image: NatureBox]

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