If you sit in a Starbucks with someone for five straight hours, you’re either on a great date or have a really good business idea. Turns out it was the latter for Eran Henig and Yishay Waxman. Meet Thriver’s founders, who are leading the company culture revolution.
Today, Thriver is a company that’s synonymous with workplace culture. Thousands of companies rely on Thriver’s technology to curate food and culture programs and increase employee engagement in the workplace. With offerings ranging from daily meal programs to virtual experiences for remote teams, Thriver has a reputation amongst employers and employees for fostering the togetherness that organizations need to thrive.
Thriver’s success was born from two innovators with big ideas. In 2015, Thriver (formerly Platterz) came to life after a fateful five-hour meeting in a Starbucks between its two co-founders, Eran Henig (CEO) and Yishay Waxman (President). Here are their stories.
Yishay Waxman has a sales career that could make anyone’s head spin: 25 years. 92 countries. Pioneer of the early app days. Sold the first ever ringtone in North America. Got Angry Birds and Candy Crush into the hands of millions. Waxman is a man of great drive, and, as one quickly finds out, filled with fascinating stories.
Eran Henig is a tireless tech innovator with dozens of successful projects under his belt. He’s a seasoned master of code. And for as long as he can remember, he’s been a uniter of people. From organizing massive events for thousands of people in Israel, to transforming a culture of siloed tech engineers at the University of Toronto, Henig brings two things to the table: smart ideas and amazing people.
Although Thriver initially started as a platform to manage office food programs (and was called Platterz), the co-founders realized that prospective clients had a real need for culture-enhancing services beyond food. With time, Thriver expanded its offerings to meet customer needs, evolving into the workplace culture platform it is today.
Both men had recently sold companies and were ready for a new adventure. Waxman was looking for the next culture-shifting idea to sink his teeth into, and around the third hour of that fateful coffee date, their conversation turned to a subject that piqued his interest.
Henig, always the connector, had recently focused his attention on the world of corporate catering, and identified an opportunity that no one had tapped into. E-commerce was on the rise, but B2B office catering hadn’t been mastered yet. He wondered if there was a better way companies could be feeding their teams.
Henig’s theory got Waxman reflecting on his days working for a company in Boston and eating the same tuna wraps, Monday to Friday for nine years, essentially because it was the most convenient option. It sucked, and he wondered if that’s how other companies felt about their food programs.
But this wasn’t just about food. Both men understood how valuable it was to bring people together; to share meals with peers and friends, connect with each other, and create memorable experiences. Their respective lives had taught them that sharing a meal in good company was never just about sharing a meal. They understood there was something powerful to it, almost magical. And with that, they knew they weren’t just going to make a better way to order lunch to the office. They were going to make something that fuels all aspects of company culture.
Building their own company culture from scratch, Waxman and Henig brought together some of the smartest, most creative, most motivated people they knew. Once they had their dream team, they set up shop in Waxman’s house, later moving to a cramped boardroom in a friend’s office. It was a tight, chaotic squeeze but the team got to work – coding, cold-calling, building features, pounding the pavement; using their sharp, creative minds to shake up the stale world of office culture, and wake it up to something better.
What started as an idea between two guys over coffee was blooming into something with genuinely disruptive potential – all thanks to this team of bright, energetic people who believed in it.
“When I was first going to be introduced to Yishay, I thought he would just be a young kid with an idea,” says Josh Martow, part of the founding team. “But after meeting him and Eran, and hearing about their past experience, I quickly realized, ‘oh wait, this thing can be massive.’” Today, as Director of Business Intelligence, Martow continues to set his sights high for Thriver. “Our growth is motivating, and I’m still so excited to see how far we’ll go,” he says.
Tal Brodsky, Senior Director of Business Development and another instrumental member of the founding team is similarly inspired by the evolution of the company. “We were scrappy in the beginning, and did everything ourselves. We’d say yes to client requests on the fly, and then figure out a way to make it happen. When I look back now, I’m able to see that we were creating something that didn’t exist before,” Brodsky says. “At Thriver, we really value client feedback, and we use that to help inform our evolution. While we’ve really matured as a team, and as a product, the vision that Eran and Yishay first set out still still guides us today,” he says. Eventually Thriver (formerly Platterz) moved into a bigger office and expanded their team across North America. In August, 2020, Thriver announced a $33M Series B funding round which led the company to their next chapter as Thriver to fuel a company culture revolution.
A team of people who are inspired and motivated by each other isn’t just the culture created at the Thriver’s office, it’s the culture this platform is helping fuel in offices around the world.
Not only did the team invest in strong minds for tech, creativity, and business, they incorporated people highly trained in human psychology.
“Psychology plays a huge role in our hiring and retention strategy. We understand that people’s day-to-day should be challenging enough to take them outside of their comfort zone, but also allow them to be who they are, and have opportunities to connect with others. To get people to achieve something great, you have to invest in them and what matters to them. We make sure our employees feel seen and valued, and we’re building technology that helps other companies do the same thing.” said Valeria Latman, VP of Brand Strategy & Organizational Psychology
The dynamics of people and connection and human interaction are the beating heart of this platform, and the driving force of an engaged, motivated company culture, so it’s a top priority for everyone at Thriver to understand what makes a group of people feel connected.
Now operating across North America and, serving 50,000 employees a day, Thriver has expanded beyond catering. Thriver offers more services and solutions that energize employees and help companies of all sizes realize the true, formidable potential of a connected culture. Through this extension, Thriver offers personalized Virtual Experience programs, ranging from health and wellness to professional development sessions as a way to connect employees together wherever they are.
“With everything we’ve gone through in 2020, distributed workforces desperately need to foster togetherness now more than ever. Our clients have been relying on us to provide them with services that drive employee engagement, and they can do that now no matter where their teams are,”Eran Henig, Thriver CEO and co-founder
“We’ve come a long way from when Yishay and I first met at that Starbucks, and we both couldn’t be prouder of how much our team has grown. Our whole team is energized to see the way other companies use Thriver to build a culture that’s completely unique to each contributing individual.”