After an $111M Funding Round, this ‘Online Costco’ Aims to get Healthy Food to the Food Stamp Recipients

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Founders Nick Green and Gunnar Lovelace. Photo Courtesy of Thrive Market.

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get healthy and organic food anymore if you skip Whole Foods and head online to healthy food curator website, Thrive Market.

The online membership site which calls itself “the Online Costco” sells to the conscious consumer and offers them a broad array of non perishable and consumable products from organic coconut oil to fair-trade coffees, and even toiletries, a recent Forbes expose read.

The company says it has 5 million registered users and over 300,000 paid members, which fork up $60 annually to access the site. Currently, the site sends out $200,000 worth of goods each day.

It’s no wonder, perhaps, then that Thrive Market was able to raise $111 million dollars in a recent round of funding led by investment firm Invus. Other existing investors, including Greycroft Partners, E-Ventures and Cross Culture Ventures, participated as well this round.

The newly raised funds will go towards the private label line, developing a warehouse management system, and providing more content on their site (or storytelling).  Thrive has  developed a line of 40 products under the Thrive brand, including locally sourced foods, and items such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and more.

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And now the company is on a mission to expand the market to less affluent people.

“Having grown up poor with a single mom and as a Latino immigrant,”  said co-founder Gunnar Lovelace, who along with his co-founder Nick Green, argue that this offering shouldn’t be limited to high-end customers. “I’ve wanted to do something about limited access to healthy foods my whole life.”


When first launched, the duo asked the USDA to expand the purchasing source options to online marketplaces so that the poor can get access to healthy foods, but were rejected. And now with the new focus to expand the market, they’ve launched a petition to get the USDA to change its policies and guidelines.

The case for food stamps is compelling. Forbes writes

 45 million Americans are on food stamps.  That rounds out to about 1 in 7.  For children, the stats are even more “staggering,” according to Lovelace: 1 in 5 Americans children rely on food stamp assistance.

“We don’t believe healthy food should only be available to those who can afford it, or to those who live in close geographic proximity to a grocery store,” he says.

According to the USDA, there are 23.5 million people in the US who live in such food deserts.  Compound that, he says, with the growing health crises, such as obesity and diabetes in America.  These health issues, he argues, are clogging up our healthcare system, and costing the country a fortune.

With food stamps, they want to have an even broader reach, across the country. 

Lovelace added, “Healthy food should be accessible to all, and we’re simply asking the USDA to make that possible.” 

If you agree, sign the petition HERE!