Time to Thrive

By Somesh Dash and Chloe Breider

Today, IVP announced an investment in Thrive Global, the behavior change media and technology company founded by Arianna Huffington, that aims to improve wellness worldwide. IVP is the lead investor in the company’s $30M Series B financing, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Arianna and her stellar team to help drive the business forward and catalyze the company’s growth prospects.

We believe that Thrive is pursuing a massive market opportunity that they are uniquely prepared to succeed in.  More importantly, we have the conviction that the opportunity that Thrive is going after is one that will make the world a better place. Here are some of the reasons that we are so excited to be partnering with Thrive Global.

Beyond Eat Your Vegetables!

People are paying increasing attention to both their mental and physical health beyond eating well and exercising regularly.  We are, as a society, increasingly attuned to the importance of reducing stress and burnout, as well as mindfulness, meditation, and taking time to unplug from our devices and recharge.  Most of us want to live lives that are more authentic, where we feel connected to ourselves and our families, yet we are also constantly pursuing increased productivity at work.  Finding a way to square the circle and achieve both your wellness goals and your high performance goals can seem like an impossible task.

On the other side of the equation, employers are facing increased burnout, low productivity, and unhappy employees.  There is so much noise in wellness, and often a company’s well-intentioned attempts to help their employees end up feeling like HR telling you to “eat your vegetables.”  Thrive is building a business that offers solutions for both individuals and Enterprises.  Thrive is an authentic voice, uniting excellent research and industry experts to create actionable pathways to follow to help people live better lives.

Media DNA

In less than one year, Thrive has created a differentiated digital media property that is a one-stop shop for wellness content.  Fast becoming the authoritative voice in wellness, Thrive’s website features content from business leaders like Jeff Bezos and celebrities like Selena Gomez, stories and advice from medical professionals, and industry thought leaders, as well as everyday people who are passionate about wellness and have something valuable to share.

How have they been able to have such fantastic success in such a short period?  Arianna Huffington pioneered the contributor model at the eponymous Huffington Post, and has brought her incredible network and deep media expertise to this new venture, along with former colleagues and her founding investors from The Huffington Post. This team has unmatched media DNA and is now all-in to revolutionize wellness and be the go-to source for wellness-related content, advice and community.

Enterprise Focus & Traction

At IVP, we look for fast-growing startups focused on the Enterprise. Thrive has gained Enterprise traction as rapidly as some of our best performing Enterprise focused investments.  We have been involved with leading Enterprise SaaS businesses like Concur, Domo, Marketo, Successfactors, and Yext and think that Thrive exhibits many of the same qualities that led those companies to succeed.  In the first year of operation, Thrive Global has formed partnerships with industry-leading behemoths like Accenture, JP Morgan, and SAP by offering companies and their employees sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance well-being, performance and purpose.  Like many other SaaS businesses, we saw footprints of a “Land, Renew and Expand” model that has the potential to scale well beyond $100M in recurring revenue in the coming years.

After speaking to several of Thrive’s initial customers and hearing resoundingly positive feedback, we came away with even more conviction that the team at Thrive is uniquely positioned to build the premier company in the Enterprise wellness space and revolutionize the way companies take care of their employees. One of the most exciting things that we took away from conversations with Thrive’s customers is that the greatest champions of Thrive are often C-Level executives who do not sit within Human Resources or Human Capital Management.  What Thrive delivers goes far beyond HR – it is a solution that is important to all executives who care about supporting their employees.

We were blown away by the caliber of customers the Thrive Global team has been able to secure in year one and are confident that they will be able to continue to build a large business based on the Enterprise segment alone, as well as a leading global consumer business supported by branded content sponsorships and consumer apps and products.  We are excited by the underlying technology that Thrive has developed in year one and that the company plans to continue to invest in engineering and product to build a world-class solutions.  On that note, Thrive has hired veteran Enterprise executive Brent Chudoba, former CRO of SurveyMonkey (where he helped scale the business to $100M+ revenues while remaining profitable), to help lead the charge in building out the Enterprise product suite to accelerate Thrive’s expansion.  Brent was also COO of PicMonkey, and is now joining Thrive as COO and CFO and will be Arianna’s partner in scaling the business around the world.  The synergy between the media content and the Enterprise offering is strong, and as Thrive continues to build out their team and bring on talent with deep product and Enterprise expertise, we believe that this could be a large, global business just like that of its customers.

Wellness in Action

While we have been impressed by Thrive’s performance to date, we think that this is just the beginning.  We are looking forward to partnering with Arianna, her team, and the all-star roster of existing investors as we all collaborate to take this business to the next level. We couldn’t be more excited to “Thrive” together for the years to come!

Somesh Dash is a General Partner at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA. Chloe Breider is an Associate at IVP.