NASA-engineer-turned-science-evangelist Mark Rober knows better than anyone how to get folks stoked about STEM. Don’t take our word for it—his breakdowns of the principles behind swimming through Jello or safely dropping an egg from space have garnered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.

For the love of science, Mark partnered with Jim Lee to democratize STEM and bring his gleeful experiments straight to viewers’ homes. In 2022, with Jim as President and COO, they launched CrunchLabs and its flagship subscription box: a lineup of science-based toys to build each month. Projects like the Disc Launcher, Domino Catapult, and newly-launched Hack Pack aren’t just for fun (though they are fun)—they encourage kids to “Think Like an Engineer” too.

CrunchLabs leverages turnkey Recharge products to create a seamless experience for over 100,000 customers

Launching CrunchLabs

The success of Mark’s video content gave the CrunchLabs team good reason to expect a healthy appetite for their subscription box. They prepped for a strong launch—and they were still blown away by the reception, selling through their entire inventory in just days.

It was clear that they were on to something big. They needed partners who could help them reach the scale they were on a trajectory for. And from day one, they prepared to meet their sky-high demand with Recharge.


Turnkey & customizable

CrunchLabs explored all kinds of subscription options before launch, including completely bespoke solutions. But they got the features they needed right out of the box from Recharge, and with enough flexibility to suit their business—at a fraction of the cost of custom options.

Prepaids & SKU swapping: CrunchLabs’ unique subscription experience delivers exactly the same succession of items to each subscriber. This is made possible by a unique element of Recharge's prepaid subscription functionality: the ability to swap the line item property SKU. By swapping the line item property SKU on prepaid shipments on each order, CrunchLabs can move subscribers to the next box in the sequence.

Customer portal: With their innovative, progressive subscription offering, where each box builds upon lessons from the last, a curated customer experience was critical. CrunchLabs used the Recharge SDK to build a totally custom portal for their subscribers, making it a snap to see where they’ve been and what’s coming next. This custom portal also integrates directly into their learning platform, so subscribers don’t need to navigate between different accounts to access lessons, activity booklets, the replacement part store, or even 3D files of their builds!

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CrunchLabs took off like a rocket. After selling out their launch inventory, they reached profitability and 100,000 subscribers in just six months. With Recharge’s turnkey and customizable solutions providing a solid foundation to scale on, they were able to focus on what they do best: delivering great products and YouTube videos every month. And they haven’t slowed down since their initial launch—they’ve continued expanding their lineup with an assortment of innovative new offerings.

Camp CrunchLabs is ​​a wacky, immersive, 12-week array of engineering challenges that had kids spend their 2023 summer vacations building homemade musical instruments, hallway laser mazes, and Rube Goldberg machines. Pulling off Camp CrunchLabs required an all-new custom workflow built in partnership with the Recharge team. The program was a hit: thousands of campers signed up last year, and Camp CrunchLabs will be back and even bigger this summer.

CrunchLabs keeps building

Their latest innovation: CrunchLabs’ brand new robot-in-a-box Hack Pack subscription launched in April 2024. The specially designed subscription box guides new coders and master hackers alike into the world of mechatronics where robotics and coding meet. Each box includes all the materials needed to build a robot at home with help from Mark Rober’s YouTube videos.

But what really makes Hack Pack magical is its extra behind-the-scenes coding that users can take off-rails—the computer brains of any of these robots can be hacked to completely level up the functionality. Since CrunchLabs aims to inspire passionate, curious minds, Hack Pack can be built independently or with friends and family.

And get this: a couple times a year, Mark Rober will randomly select one box in which to place the Platinum Diploma Sweepstakes ticket. For those who find the ticket, college is now free and the scholarship can be transferred to a loved one. Whether you have just a spark of coding curiosity or you’re a hacker ready to play, Hack Pack will get you further on your journey.