Forage, a payments processor that makes it easier for grocers to accept SNAP EBT (formerly food stamps) payments online, has raised $22m from a Series A backed by PayPal.
The round was headed by Nyca and saw participation from EO Ventures and prominent angels including Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta.
Currently, one in eight Americans receive government assistance to buy groceries. While more than 250,000 brick & mortar locations accept SNAP benefits via EBT in-store, only a fraction have been approved for online EBT.
Many SNAP recipients are homebound, lack transportation, or live in a food desert without easy access to grocery stores; many others want to avoid in-person shopping due to concerns about COVID. While many Americans were able to shift to online grocery shopping during the pandemic, SNAP recipients were not afforded this safety and convenience because they are effectively unable to use their benefits online.
Forage has an in-house team of EBT and payments experts. The firm also developed and recently launched the first Shopify app that offers online EBT payment processing to Shopify’s ecosystem of merchants.
The company provides merchants with support through every step of the USDA approval process, from preparing the required documentation through system engineering and testing all the way to deployment.
Forage claims it will use the capital for product development and to accelerate hiring to meet high demand for the company’s solutions.
Forage co-founder and CEO Ofek Lavian said, “This capital will help accelerate Forage’s mission to democratise access to government benefits. We’re proud of the technology we’ve built and are excited to expand the acceptance of SNAP EBT payments online for low-income Americans.”
Earlier this year, PayPal Ventures backed Jetty, a financial service company on a mission to make renting a home more affordable.
Jetty said it aims to support renter and properties at every stage of the rental journey. Among its current product offerings are Jetty Deposit, a security deposit alternative, Jetty Rent, a flexible rent payment programme, and Jetty Protect, a modern renter insurance product.
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