Fast health food restaurant chain THR1VE closes multi-million funding round led by Blue Sky Venture Capital

- November 23, 2015 3 MIN READ

Looking around food courts for healthy lunch options is hard when you are ambushed by fatty yet tasty meals that are prepared, cooked and served within five minutes. With most of us having a 30 minute window to find, buy and eat lunch, a short waiting period is a major decider. Rivalling its competitors with quick alternatives to fried food and processed meat is THR1VE, which offers fresh ingredients, served on an average of 3 minutes.

THR1VE has today announced that it has secured a multi-million dollar investment in a round led by Blue Sky Venture Capital, with participation from Mike Green, former partner of New York-based Oak Hill Capital Partners, and former Oroton chairman Ross Lane, who was also one of THR1VE’s seed investors.

“THR1VE is positioned at the intersection of two rapidly growing segments of the restaurant industry – fast casual dining and health and wellness nutrition,” said Blue Sky Investment Director, Lachlan McMurdo.

The funding will be used to expand around the country. Since its launch in 2012, THR1VE has grown to six restaurants, and has plans to grow to more than 20 in the next five years. Founded by Josh Sparks, former CEO of Sass and Bide, THR1VE has leveraged social media to create a lifestyle brand that is proving to be highly competitive in a fast growing fast food environment. 

“We’re excited to get on board to help take the brand further, and will support Josh and the team to open more stores in top-class locations around the country,” he said.  

Fast casual restaurants are the fastest-growing segment of Australia’s food market, growing by 30 percent per annum in the past five years, which is in comparison to only five percent for traditional fast food outlets.

Sparks takes pride in his business model, by using the best locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, which are customised and cooked to order in just three minutes. Food is delivered to customers in half the time of its competitors, thanks to the development of a classic QSR model, (Quick Service Restaurant). This model uses multiple points of sale and screens with examples of signature dishes.

Sparks has adapted the restaurant into a lifestyle brand by tapping into social media to promote the business into the broader lifestyle of healthy eating. He said the integration of online marketing and in store experience has helped to transform THR1VE into a major competitor and a well known business on Facebook and Instagram.

THR1VE’s creative director, Steph Kramer, came from a background in fashion and knows the importance of images and how to create content that is a pleasing visual experience. Startup businesses like THR1VE begin with no budget, and use social media as a tool to promote themselves and generate popularity.

“The honest truth is that our customers have taken our brand and run with it. Most of our content we re-gram what our customers post,” said Sparks.

The adoption and adaptation of social media is all about building up a community of users and directing their likes and shares to the plate. Harnessing social vehicles like Instagram, gives customers a platform to critique the marketplace.

“It is a highly dynamic and content rich consumer survey, which is what I love about social media,” said Sparks

Australia’s appetite for convenient and reasonably priced meals is strong, and healthy eating impacts on how consumers look, feel and perform. Australian consumers are seeking out nutritious options, which are not traditionally found in food courts.

A three day conference hosted by THR1VE this year sold 85 percent of tickets to Instagram followers, which showed how supportive social media is of their healthy eating model. For Sparks, who confessed that he is a dinosaur when it comes to social media, believes that his team are only just scratching the service.

THR1VE aims to take advantage of the passing traffic on social media and coerce the community with bright and colourful images of food to stop and look and ultimately go in store and buy. Digitally the health journey customers experience in store is replicated and continued to promote a lifestyle choice that avoids processed and high sugar foods.