Home / Technology / “Wholesome Pivot” Interview by way of Silas Valentino, Punch Mag

“Wholesome Pivot” Interview by way of Silas Valentino, Punch Mag

The NatureBox headquarters, a touch from downtown Redwood Town, is in an ethereal construction with herbal mild streaming via floor-to-ceiling home windows bordering the road. This could be a super surroundings for an car showroom (traditionally, it was once) however now it’s coated with status desks, couches, whiteboards, a big exterior air-con unit and loads of kilos of snacks.

Those aren’t your mom’s carrot sticks; the snack corporate’s catalog runs wealthy and deep with the likes of dried chile mangos, turmeric black pepper popcorn, sriracha cashews and chocolate chip cookies that gained’t come up with a stomachache—it’s a cornucopia of reimagined snack favorites made with a wholesome focal point.

“Munch away on no matter you’re yearning and be ok with what you’re consuming” reads the label at the again of the path combine. In an intriguing twist a couple of months in the past, NatureBox took that feel-good eats thought one step additional by way of creating a line of hemp-based cannabidiol snacks, a fairly radical shift made by way of the corporate’s CEO after finding the immensely certain well being results CBD had on his personal daughter.

Despite the fact that person rooms exist throughout the headquarters, this CEO’s table is in simple view off within the nook surrounded by way of staff.

It’s now not a busy administrative center area and the murmur of telephone calls and chatter doesn’t intervene with John Occhipinti’s focus as he stoically sits at his table with a couple of noise-canceling headphones on. Eyes closed, he’s meditating. As he’ll do all through the day.

“I’m paying attention to a smattering of YouTube-guided meditations,” he later explains. “My thoughts will run in a large number of other instructions and this may increasingly get me grounded in additional inventive power, then productiveness comes again. You pay attention in your middle to peer if it’s beating.”

He’s extra blue denims than Brooks Brothers, dressed in a light- blue Winery Vines blouse, which turns out to toughen his already radiant blue eyes. Susceptible to smiling and unafraid to make use of a whiteboard to lend a hand illustrate some degree, John (or “John O,” a every now and then nickname impressed by way of an outdated e mail he had whilst operating at Netscape within the 1990s) leads NatureBox with a at ease and targeted course.

“My children gave me a bracelet that claims Be Provide,” he says, gesturing to his wrist. “That’s what I’d pontificate to them once I used to drop them off in school.”

The truth that John is that this easygoing whilst overseeing a multi-million- greenback corporate with over two million shoppers is an characteristic of an individual who believes deeply within the venture of his paintings. No longer handiest do NatureBox’s merchandise permit other folks to snack with out the outcome of an dangerous vitamin, however the brand new line of CBD chews is at the forefront of constructing merchandise that soothe other folks who continuously bear nervousness, migraines or pressure.

A serving of six chews comprises 25mg of CBD with 0 THC. They’re in 3 flavors—pineapple, passion-berry, and watermelon- lemonade—with a bag promoting for roughly $20 when you’ve got a club with the corporate. NatureBox presented their CBD chews previous this yr and the snacks had been an immediate luck, racking up 1,000 other folks on a waitlist after which sell-ing out of their first week.


Developing a brand new style of wellness merchandise weren’t John’s preliminary plan when his company, Wheelhouse Companions, assumed regulate of NatureBox in 2017. However the father of 3 won motivation after witnessing first-hand how CBD soothed the serious migraines plaguing his heart kid. He detailed the non-public adventure on a weblog publish in Would possibly 2019 titled, “Why CBD is what’s subsequent for NatureBox.”

John describes how his daughter Gabby was once affected by a week-long headache, an extension of the power migraines she’s persisted since adolescence. They attempted a number of answers—visiting more than one scientific consultants, converting vitamin, hiring a masseuse—but the ache would now not subside. One morning, after learn- ing from a chum about CBD, John, and Gabby determined to present the experiment a shot.

“I went down and purchased a tincture of non-THC CBD at a dispensary. She needed to wait within the automotive since she was once below 21 and I got here out with a brown bag. I regarded into the bag and joked that we simply scored,” John laughs whilst retelling the tale. “We didn’t know the way a lot she must take so I put two drops below her tongue. In an hour, her headache was once long gone. It was once like, ‘Woah, that is one thing.’”

Raised in Woodside off Cañada Street, John was once predisposed to the entrepreneurial spirit sooner than he may just power a automotive. “We funny story that we didn’t promote lemonade at the nook; we offered zucchini as a result of that’s what we had been rising within the back- backyard,” John says. His father was once a tech entrepreneur who labored with the likes of Don Valentine, continuously known as “the grandfather of Silicon Valley mission capital.”

“My dad’s approach to keep up a correspondence was once to discuss what he liked: struggle answer and other folks talents,” John says. “He mentioned board conferences and the way he handled struggle. I used to be within the board-room at an excessively younger age. When I used to be requested, ‘What do you wish to have to be while you’re older?’ I used to be the child who mentioned ‘a bond salesman.’”


A Woodside Top grad, John’s adventure led him to a gross sales activity at Oracle. He considers promoting considered one of his innate talents and whilst pursuing a trade level at Cal, he was once presented a place with a fledgling corporate referred to as Netscape, changing into probably the most first 30 staff on the early-days Web massive.

Following the sale of Netscape, John transitioned into his father’s trade to change into a mission capitalist for the circle of relatives company, the Woodside Fund. He’d later change into a spouse within the corporate Relay Ventures, the place the highbrow stimuli from passionate marketers despatched him on a brand new trail.

Impressed by way of the innovation swirling round him, John co-founded Wheelhouse Companions in 2017 the usage of a singular technique to non-public fairnessthe company unearths firms with earlier primary investments on the point of cave in. Whilst speaking during the trade type, John jumps as much as a close-by whiteboard the place he sketches out a graph chart as an example his level.

“Numerous firms get overfunded after which burn out. We discover those firms that experience run into hassle however with right kind control talents, they might prevail,” he explains.

In 2017, John was once tipped off about an leading edge snack corporate that had nice doable however had begun to idle—and that’s how NatureBox got here into the image. A right away-to-consumer disrupter (“The following Frito-Lay,” John compares.), the corporate were situated by way of the founders as a better-for-you snack trade. Wheelhouse took over and after first serving as its govt chairman, John assumed the position of CEO to lend a hand streamline control.


It was once a primary for the longtime board member, mission capitalist, and pop. It got here like a shot within the arm. “It felt like I used to be dwelling for the primary time in a very long time,” he says. “To lift the finances to take over Na- tureBox, that took sheer non-public will. It was once worrying however invigorating. I by no means felt extra excited.”

It was once obviously a wholesome pivot, which might result in different daring steps. Such enthusiasm is continuously tangible — like when NatureBox closed a up to date giant deal and in a are compatible of enjoyment, John discovered himself on best of an administrative center espresso desk allotting dance strikes now not noticed in many years.

NatureBox, John Occhipinti

“I did the sprinkler and a complete pop from the 1980s,” he remembers, with an exuberant grin.


Pictures: courtesy of NatureBox/John Berry and PUNCHMAGAZINE.COM (Irene Searles is Photographer from Punch)

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson

Editor In Leader at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content material at ReadWrite.com. He in the past labored as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You’ll succeed in him at brad at readwrite.com.

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