After collectively selling three small technology companies, Gunnar Lovelace and Nick Green set out to start something more impactful. They want to make healthy snacks and organic home products affordable for the entire country.
In less than nine months, Culver City-based Thrive Market has picked up more than 100,000 paying members for its online shop and shipped 1 million products. Now, it's time to kick it into high gear.
Thrive Market announced Thursday that it has received $30 million in funding, the largest early-stage investment into an online shop in the Los Angeles region, according to the company.
"It's not an accomplishment in and of itself, but it's an indication of what we've done so far and the potential," Lovelace said.
The company previously raised $8 million through more than 100 wealthy individuals such as Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Mark Hyman and Los Angeles entrepreneur Brian Lee. The new investors include venture capital firm Greycroft Partners, Food Network owner Scripps Network Interactive and Powerplant Ventures.
Thrive Market discounts products up to 25% over traditional retailers by collecting an annual fee of about $60 and avoiding distribution-related overhead costs that strain other businesses, Green and Lovelace said. Offering only what their consultants deem the couple of best products in each category helps, too.
The membership should pay for itself after two shipments of items such as SuperFood powders, quinoa pasta and baby-care supplies, Lovelace said. The goal is to fill pantries, medicine cabinets and cupboards while leaving fresh food to local shops, he said.
Thrive Market has a warehouse in Commerce, but some of the new cash is going toward adding a warehouse in Batesville, Ind., that would allow for two-day shipping to most customers.
The start-up donates one membership to low-income individuals for every paid one, and it's working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be one of the first online stores to accept food stamps next year.