It took only a few days for Lincoln-based Bulu Box to realize that the $1.5 million in venture capital it raised earlier this month just wouldn’t cut it.
So the company, which uses data from its health supplement subscription service to help companies test and make decisions about new products, went back to its advisers and investors to discuss the “problem.”
Not even a week later, the company ended up with more than twice the original amount.
Bulu Box now has $3.61 million in financing, according to federal filings, to move forward with plans to improve a recently released software platform and make a handful of hires by year-end.
The workforce will grow from 10 employees today to as many as 18 by year-end.
Flyover Capital of Leawood, Kansas, was the main investor and was joined by Omaha-based Dundee Venture Capital and others.
Paul Jarrett, CEO and co-founder at Bulu Box, said the company is adding subscribers at the rate of 1,000 each day.
When it launched a software platform for business clients to let them see data about things like customers’ survey results and buying habits earlier this month, the response was equally overwhelming.
“We always thought it would be more of a human consulting interaction, and (chief technology officer) Caitlin Bales said, ‘No, this needs to be software,’ ” Jarrett said. “We’ve gotten this wowed response from the vitamin and supplement industry.”
The company today has more than 50,000 subscribers receiving samples each month in addition to 125,000 customers buying full-size products through its website. Revenue this year will exceed $5 million, Jarrett said.
But even though Bulu Box is best known for its bright orange subscription boxes, it can be argued that the company’s real appeal is in its ability to collect and make useful data about decisions that subscribers make about products in the boxes.
Keith Molzer, general partner at Flyover Capital, said the capabilities of Bulu Insights, the new software platform, are virtually unmatched in the marketplace.
Moving forward, Jarrett said the ultimate goal is to continue building the business until the right suitor emerges to acquire it.
He anticipates that happening in the next three to five years.
Just don’t expect any massive hiring sprees — Bulu Box employees hold “lots” of equity in the company, Jarrett said.
“We’re looking at ways we can figure out a technology that is more efficient than what we have now to help keep us from diluting the employees’ equity pool,” he said.
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