Office-catering platform Platterz is changing its name and expanding its services to offer programs such as virtual group fitness, cooking classes and mental-health sessions in an effort to adapt to the changing nature of workplaces amid coronavirus-related lockdown restrictions.
The Toronto-based company, now known has Thriver, has raised US$33-million in a second round of venture-capital financing that focuses on its growth. The round of funding was led by Israel-based capital fund Viola Growth and included new investors such as Vertex Ventures Israel, Union Tech Ventures and Journey Ventures, as well as prior investors Aleph Fund and Altair Capital.
Since March, offices in North America and around the world have closed down, punishing businesses that depend on serving them. Vancouver online corporate-catering business Foodee announced last month that it had raised more funds and bought out San Francisco-based competitor Chewse Inc. to position itself for a recovery in the sector.
Thriver says it always planned to expand beyond office catering to become a “one-stop shop” for corporations looking to attract and keep talent. Clients include tech giants such as Lyft, Shopify, Uber and Dropbox.
The pandemic, according to Thriver co-founders Eran Henig and Yishay Waxman, has just accelerated the timeline.
“We built this company from the get-go as a tech company and, with the platform and the technology, we knew that it would lay out the foundation to really just go into other verticals beyond food,” Mr. Waxman said.
The original plan was to expand these offerings in 2021, according to the company; to prepare, Thriver had been testing out pilot programs such as yoga and meditation packages with some of its clients in Los Angeles and New York as early as last year. A couple of months into the pandemic “we realized that we had the opportunity to focus on expanding the business right now, instead of waiting for the next year or two,” Mr. Henig said.
“The market is huge,” said Viola Growth partner Natalie Refuah who led the fund’s investment in Thriver. Ms. Refuah says that there is now a bigger need for “corporate-culture initiatives” as people don’t have the same day-to-day interactions that they normally would have in an office.
“They knew exactly what their customers needed and they really excelled in building a platform, a technology platform, that serves their needs,” she continued.
The platform has built out partnerships with restaurants and caterers across North America over the past five years, connecting them with companies looking to provide day-to-day workplace meals or catering for bigger events.
Thriver’s expanded strategy now builds upon its original platform by connecting offices to businesses that can offer virtual experiences during the pandemic, which then can translate into in-person activities, assuming workplaces soon return more to normal.
Offerings include professional development opportunities and health classes; they also include more leisurely one-off events such as paint nights or cooking nights, though food services will continue to be a large part of Thriver’s business.
“There’s a lot of fatigue with working from home, and HR and a lot of organizational leaders are trying to figure out how to really get the culture back engaged,” Mr. Waxman said.
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