Plant Meal-Kit Provider Thistle Raises Fresh Capital
Thistle, which describes itself as a tech-enabled food and nutrition brand that delivers fully-prepared, plant-forward meals to the doorsteps of its customers, has raised $10.3 million in a Series B financing round.
The round was led by PowerPlant Ventures, with participation from Siddhi Capital, Alumni Ventures Group and Rich Products Corp.’s venture arm. PowerPlant Ventures also led Thistle’s Series A ,which closed just 11 months ago in Jan. 2020.
Thistle plans to use the latest funding to bring more fresh, ready-to-eat foods to people across the United States through geographic market expansion, including an additional production facility likely on the East Coast. Setting its sights on a bi-coastal footprint in 2021, the brand expansion will make Thistle available to millions of potential new customers that are eager for both healthier and more sustainable meal services.
“Given rapidly shifting consumer preferences and factors like time or money that impact what foods we eat, Thistle is focused on expanding its operations to become the go-to meal solution that is better for you and for the planet. As always, we’ll never sacrifice taste, convenience or quality,” said Ashwin Cheryian, co-founder and CEO of Thistle. “The pandemic has revealed many challenges within the food system and increased awareness of the paramount role that diet plays in an individual’s health. We’re dedicated to making our products accessible to customers, empowering them to take their personal health by the reins and enjoy the ride, one bite at a time. With this funding, we’ll be able to support even more people through scientific, evidence-based principles of nutrition that lead to optimal wellness, enjoyable eating and a healthier planet.”
Serving over 5 million meals in the last seven years, Thistle continues to take an individual approach when it comes to maintaining an optimal customer experience. As part of this new funding, the brand will use proceeds to launch new customer offerings including a complimentary virtual consultation with their own in-house registered dietitian. This new resource provides customers access to a specialist who can provide guidance on how to achieve their wellness goals via a whole food, delicious, plant-forward diet.
“We are deeply committed to our customers and to ensuring their experience with Thistle is delightful every time,” said Shiri Avnery, co-founder and COO of Thistle. “We review every piece of feedback and noticed a trend among Thistlers asking for additional support on how to live a healthier lifestyle. This sparked the inspiration for virtual consultations with Thistle’s registered dietician. We tested the program last fall, and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. We’re excited to be able to officially roll out the program to our customers this month, with the primary goal to further support our customers along each stage of their wellness journey.”
The direct-to-consumer San Francisco-based startup currently delivers tens of thousands of meals on a weekly basis to customers on the West Coast, averaging a 100%+ annual growth rate since launching in 2013. Thistle’s expansion comes as demand for meal delivery and immunity-boosting foods skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2019, Thistle has seen its customer base grow +50%, indicating a sustained trend toward healthy and convenient fresh food options available at the push of a button.
In the past 12 months, Thistle grew its West Coast presence by expanding its local delivery and shipping to new markets, including Seattle-Tacoma, Portland and Las Vegas. In addition, Thistle opened a new facility in Vacaville, California that runs on 100% non-polluting renewable energy from wind and solar. Thistle also made several strategic executive hires in 2020, including a chief financial officer, chief product officer and chief marketing officer to support the brand’s continued growth.