What’s the last snack you had a work? Chances are it wasn’t particularly healthy. The food people eat during the workday tends to contain high amounts of sodium and refined grain, according to a recent survey by the Center for Disease Control. Unsurprisingly, it’s loaded with empty calories — the average worker consumes roughly 1,300 calories each week in snacks alone.
That’s why Stanford graduate and former Microsoft product manager Michael Heinrich founded Oh My Green, a San Francisco-based provider of food and wellness services that leverages artificial intelligence and wireless sensors to help corporate employees make healthier choices. Today, the company announced a $20 million seed funding round that included Y Combinator, Initialized Capital, PowerPlant Ventures, Backed VC, ZhenFund, Talis Capital, and Stanford-StartX Fund.
The capital will be used to “further advance” Oh My Green’s wellness platform, Heinrich said, and to support the growth of its supplier and customer network in North America ahead of international expansion.
“More and more businesses are investing in wellness as a means to improve employee productivity, engagement, and retention,” he said. “Good nutrition is an essential part of any wellness strategy … Our mission is to empower companies to provide their people with healthier choices so that they can reach their full potential, both at work and in their daily lives.”
Heinrich began developing Oh My Green within Stanford’s StartX accelerator in 2014 as an graduate, and the startup received Y Combinator backing in 2016. It currently offers office snack delivery and kitchen design services, plus catering cafe management, wellness programming, and appliances like “kegerators,” coffee pots, flow-water machines, ice machines, and automatic coffee machines. Its nutrition platform was designed in collaboration with Dr. Pamela Peeke, an internationally recognized nutrition expert, and its in-house panel taste-tests all the foods individually before they make their way to Oh My Green’s catalog.
Heinrich said he was inspired by his grandmother, a medical doctor who cultivated an organic garden and served home-cooked meals in Germany when he was growing up.
On the foodstuff front, Oh My Green’s front end dashboard lets workers upvote snacks, make requests, get news on upcoming offerings, and participate in surveys. And its machine learning-powered recommendation engine curates a selection of more than 500 organic, non-GMO, and locally sourced options from suppliers by applying AI models to data covering costs per location, time horizon, weekly budget, and consumption levels.
Offices with 50 people or fewer get Oh My Green Box, a selection of food delivered on a recurring basis. Thanks in part to an acquisition of food delivery service Bellissimo in November 2017, Oh My Green says it can serve small firms anywhere in the 48 contiguous United States.
It’s all with the goal of saving office managers time while helping companies to — in the words of Greenhouse director of employee experience and Oh My Green customer Jessica Pfisterer — “avoid over-processed junk” while on the go. Oh My Green’s displays, for example, strategically place nutrition labels and fruits at eye level (and less-healthy options a bit lower) to encourage optimal decisions.
“Wellness is a big priority for us, and good nutrition is critical to our employee’s well-being,” Jessica Pfisterer, director of employee experience and operations at Greenhouse. “Oh My Green’s platform makes it easy and affordable for us to stock our kitchens with healthy offerings, so that our people can avoid over-processed junk food when they are on the go. We love that employees can make requests and upvote items they want, and employees like having a voice in choosing what snacks are brought in.”
Oh My Green’s clientele stretches across San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Nashville, Denver, Chicago, Austin, and Boston, with companies ranging in size from 50 to more than 2,000 employees. Among the list are heavy hitters like Mixpanel, Flatiron Health, Apple, Google, Twitch, Ideo, and Lyft.
Ultimately, Oh My Green — along with competitors like Compass Group, Aramark, and Blue Star Vending — is chasing after the global healthy snack market, which is forecast to be worth $32.8 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research.