SOURCE: ShopWell Labs, Inc.

ShopWell

October 13, 2015 07:30 ET

ShopWell Raises $3.4 Million to Help Consumers Discover Better Food

Personalized Nutrition Platform Aims to Address Some of America's Most Prevalent Health Challenges

SAN CARLOS, CA--(Marketwired - October 13, 2015) - ShopWell Labs, Inc., maker of the popular nutrition-driven food discovery platform, ShopWell®, today announced it has closed a $3.4 million financing round, totaling $11.4 million in funding to date. Led by Finistere Ventures, with additional funding from Fairhaven Capital, Munich Venture Partners, S2G Ventures and ATA Ventures, the new investment will be used to support ShopWell's continued growth as consumers, retailers and food manufacturers respond to the increasing demand for healthy food.

"The importance of making smarter food choices in managing some chronic disorders and in reaching health goals is recognized by most consumers. In turn, this is impacting how food is grown, how it is sold and even how health insurance companies are evaluating wellness programs. ShopWell is the only mobile platform that provides personalized nutritional information in-store to consumers so that they have a digital nutrition partner," noted Spencer Maughan, Partner at Finistere Ventures. "At Finistere, we invest in companies that are disrupting the food value chain. Based on its unique offering and underscored by the exceptional leadership team, big data platform, and intuitive user interface, we believe ShopWell is destined to be the winner in nutrition-based wellness applications that will help make all of our food higher quality food."

Why It Matters
Today's food shopping experience is changing. According to Deloitte, more than 70 percent of consumers are no longer relying on retailer/brand communications to become aware of new products and one third of shoppers use mobile apps to help them shop. The same study found that personalization and the use of digital during the shopping process drives more spending, with mobile influence jumping to $1.0 trillion and digital projected to influence 64 percent of in-store sales by the end of this year. In addition, the 2015 American Pantry Study found that the majority of shoppers make at-the-shelf purchasing decisions, with an increasing number of consumers (47 percent) describing themselves as "health conscious" or "ingredient sensitive" (35 percent). An overwhelming majority (86 percent) also noted that they want "convenient options that are also healthy."

However, Americans are in the midst of a diet-related health crisis: The CDC predicts that one out of every three adults could have diabetes by 2050 and reports one-third of U.S. adults (78.6 million) are already obese; meanwhile, food allergies continue to increase. Better nutrition is part of the solution, and the Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is set to update its dietary guidelines again this year. However, consumers are faced with a bewildering array of food choices, confusing food labels, and conflicting marketing signals. Many shoppers do not have access to science-based nutrition advice in a form that is timely, easy-to-understand, actionable, and personalized.

How ShopWell Drives Better Health Outcomes Through Nutrition-Driven Food Discovery
ShopWell gives consumers their own personal nutrition coach, accessible anytime/anywhere, to help them eat better. More than two million iOS and Android app users already rely on ShopWell to make smart food choices based on age and gender, as well as their specific goals, health conditions, and food allergies. Its patented algorithm calculates personalized scores for food items and makes recommendations. Instantly evaluating over 300,000 items in its database, ShopWell scores foods based on a quick barcode scan or product search and recommends "better-for-you" alternatives, in a particular grocery store or nearby, that meet consumers' specific dietary goals and food avoidances.

The company has seen steady growth thanks to the addition of wildly popular features in 2015 and plans to use the investment to leverage its critical mass of users and accelerate its reach.

Key stats:

  • Over two million downloads of the ShopWell app
  • Over 300,000 individual food items
  • Over 50 percent of ShopWell scan activity happens inside a grocery store
  • Many ShopWell users are managing chronic health conditions or food allergies -- and say it makes shopping easier, faster, and less stressful
  • ShopWell makes over 10,000 food recommendations every day
  • ShopWell has been used in more than 137,000 stores, representing over 90 percent of grocery chains in the US.

"We are at an inflection point. Today's health-conscious consumers want help making smart choices at the grocery store -- and the industry is paying attention," noted Dr. Elliott Grant, CEO of ShopWell Labs. "By listening to consumers and partnering with top retailers and food manufacturers, we aim to become the go-to personalized nutrition platform for today's mobile-savvy consumers. We need to work together to make it easier for people to eat well -- especially the millions of American shoppers and their families trying to adhere to special dietary restrictions, manage disease states, or avoid the consequences of allergens."

Ways It Helps the Industry
The new digital dynamic has also created an opportunity for retailers and food manufacturers to better engage and educate consumers. According to a recent Nielsen study, online mobile coupons and mobile shopping lists are the top forms of in-store digital engagement today. Furthermore, the 2015 Whole Health Consumer Survey found that more shoppers are heavily influenced by online sources (57 percent) than by their doctor (42 percent) when it comes to obtaining food and health information.

With the latest funding, ShopWell will increase investment in partnerships with retailers, food manufacturers, and other key members of the food system. ShopWell Labs uses its patented technology to help food manufacturers, grocery retailers and retail pharmacies meet the demands of today's consumers. As retailers embrace the need to personalize their omni-channel shopping experience, ShopWell technology drives loyalty, consumer engagement and profitability by helping consumers easily discover the right channels and products for their health goals. The company is already in discussions with major retailers and technology partners to integrate its technology.

About ShopWell
ShopWell is America's #1 free, personalized food discovery platform that grades food based on an individual's age, gender, dietary goals and allergies. ShopWell's patented algorithm -- developed by Registered Dietitians -- analyzes the ingredient, nutrition, location and popularity of over 300,000 UPCs to recommend better-for-you alternatives for shoppers. ShopWell's technology, data and analytical tools allow food retailers and manufacturers to understand and respond to shopper behavior, and use personalization and engagement programs to drive loyalty and wellness.

About Finistere Ventures
Finistere Ventures, is a leading California-based agricultural technology and life sciences venture capital investor, with offices in Palo Alto and San Diego. Their team has developed and invested in some of the most successful Food Tech & Ag Tech companies of the last 20 years. Visit FinistereVentures.com.

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