As recently as 2018, individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from the government were completely shut out from digital payment options that have become a major part of daily life. As Head of Product for Payments at grocery delivery giant Instacart, Ofek Lavian worked to change all that.
Now, he’s taking his experience with and knowledge of government payment processing to the startup Forage, which Lavian believes has a chance to dominate a previously-neglected $3.7 trillion market.
“When I looked at all the places on the internet that people couldn’t use these funds, I realized that this was going to be my calling,” Lavian said in an interview. Likening Forage’s current opportunity to Stripe’s founding story, Lavian said that Forage can help retailers navigate the USDA approval process and begin to process EBT payments faster and more easily.
Lavian’s decision to join forces with Forage comes at a turning point in the company’s life. Having recently pulled in $2 million in funding from high-profile sources through last year’s Y Combinator summer program, Forage boasts a cutting-edge payments platform as well as considerable industry expertise in its small team of employees.