The funding will enable Toronto-based Thriver to expand its “workplace culture platform” and grow its team to execute on a mission that seems more important during the pandemic — making sure that employees are in a good state of mind to work.
The company started in 2016 as Platterz, with a mission of lifting the culture of companies by providing employees with good food. Now rebranded as Thriver, the company is expanding, or maybe pivoting, from workplace food supply to employee culture programs that promote workplace wellness and employee engagement. Its new focus includes education, team building, and wellness, said Eran Henig, CEO of Thriver, in an email to VentureBeat.
Back when it started, the company had a vision to build a culture hub that would impact and benefit office culture, and food was the way to do that. But the plan was always to move into new areas in 2021 with physical activities like Escape Rooms and other experiences, Henig said. Right now, the company is focusing on virtual workplace culture, because of the pandemic.
Viola Growth led the round with participation from new investors Vertex Ventures Israel, Union Tech Ventures, Journey Ventures, and FJ Labs. Existing investors Aleph and Altair Capital participated.
Virtual workplace culture
Thriver (while operating as Platterz) streamlined and standardized food-centric culture programs throughout North America. It has served tens of thousands of daily meals to employees at over 2,000 companies. And it has established partnerships with hundreds of restaurants and processed more than $100 million in food-related orders through its platform.
The Thriver workplace culture platform includes virtual experiences, health and wellness initiatives, and professional development opportunities that bring employees together. Henig said that the new mission addresses the pandemic’s impact on companies, which need to boost engagement and retention of employees who are forced to work from home. The idea is to create culture-driven programs that work just as effectively in the new hybrid and remote work reality as they do in traditional office environments.
The Thriver workplace culture offering includes the Treat Card, a reloadable prepaid card that gives remote employees funds to pay for corporate perks and office essentials. Similarly, Thriver’s Group Ordering capabilities, which are used to provide daily or weekly workplace meals for employees and catering for meetings, is a way to feed employees through individually packaged meals.
With its Virtual Experiences offering, Thriver also enables employees to connect through activities like group fitness, cooking classes, or mental health sessions. All activities offered by Thriver are available through a centralized platform that helps finance teams track company spend and optimize ROI, and facilitates interactive employee feedback through Slack integration.
The company has 75 employees, and it began piloting ways to go beyond food at the end of 2019. Thriver rolled it out with select customers and it is seeing more demand.
“From the outset, we have always been focused on culture,” Henig said. “The vision has always been to master food and expand to additional culture-related verticals. Food remains an important pillar of focus for us, and with the expansion, there are now three other pillars: education, team building, and wellness.”
Henig said an example from one customer includes a weekly yoga class, monthly cooking, and mixology classes, as well as professional development sessions.
“The other thing that has prompted wellness as an area of focus is that life under the pandemic is very different now than it was six months ago months ago,” Henig said. “And will be even more different in the next year and beyond. With employees being isolated, wellness and mental health are a big area of focus for companies. With customers looking for a way to address this as part of their culture initiatives, we saw it as an opportunity to expedite our expansion to support this area.”