Bulu Box scores $2 million in funding to hire CTO, grow base

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Posted: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 8:30 am, Fri May 16, 2014.

Bulu Box has secured more than $2 million* in a Series A round led by Dundee Venture Capital and supplemented by Mid-American Angels, Two Bridges Capital, Linseed CapitalMidwest Venture Alliance and private individuals.

The financing will help the Lincoln startup pay for key hires—including a chief technology officer, two entry level positions and five interns—as well as enhance customer acquisition channels and product development for the vitamin and supplement discovery e-commerce company. 

“This funding, and the continued support of past investors like Dundee Venture Capital and Linseed Capital, will allow Bulu Box to continue to grow our customer base and hire the talent needed to sustain our current growth,” said co-founder and CEO Paul Jarrett in a press release.

The round is a continuation of $550,000 Series A raised in 2012 from Dundee Venture Capital and additional investment from Jim and Karen Linder. 

Bulu Box provides customers in all 50 states with monthly subscription boxes of premium supplements, weight loss and nutrition product samples. Jarrett (right) was named Pipeline’s 2013 Innovator of the Year in recognition of Bulu Box’s success in the vitamin and supplement industry with data-driven sampling and e-commerce technology. 

This round of funding comes during a time of major growth for the company.

In the last year, Bulu Box has increased monthly revenue 750 percent, implemented a rewards points program and introduced ROI sampling technology.

"When we started our business model, we thought it would be all about the subscription model, but what we've found is that it's more about e-commerce," he told Silicon Prairie News. "We just got one percent better in a dozen marketing areas, tracked and measured everything, and it just came together.

"(750 percent) is a huge number, but if we look back at time, agony and hours working on it, it makes sense."

The company also recently moved to a new office above BisonWitches at 13th and P streets in Lincoln.

Jarrett said they'll be focusing on sales in the future, but he's in interesting conversations with larger companies.

"Sales solves all and that’s what we’re focusing on... the rest of is going to happen naturally," he said.  

From intern to CTO: Bulu Box hires recent UNL Raikes school grad

Caitlin Bales was in a unique position after graduating from college in May: accept an offer from Microsoft, grow her own startup, or join Bulu Box, the startup she interned for during college.

This week, she's joining Bulu Box as its first Chief Technical Officer after the Lincoln-based startup closed the Series A round. 

A 2014 graduate of the Raikes School of Computer Science & Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she said she chose Bulu Box because of how inspired she was by the product and the culture she experienced during her internship.

As CTO, Bales will develop and maintain web operations, data infrastructure and technology strategy. 

Bales joins co-founder and CEO Paul Jarrett, co-founder and CMO Stephanie Jarrett and CFO Adam Choate.

“We set out to find someone with exceptional talent,” Stephanie Jarrett said. “In hiring Caitlin, Bulu Box is getting that talent—adding another woman in leadership at the chief level is just a bonus.” 

An Illinois native, Bales moved to Lincoln for college in 2010. She joined Bulu Box as an intern in January after launching her own startup Locabal, which helped buyers and sellers of premium hand-crafted products by creating an easy-to-use, social and individualized experience, in 2013.

Correction: Bulu Box raised more than $2 million, not the previously reported $1.53 million. 

Credits: Paul Jarrett photo from Pipeline. Bales photo from LinkedIn

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