Brooklyn based spending management platform Propel has raised $4m in Series Seed funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Omidyar Network, Kevin Durant’s The Durant Company and Max Levchin’s SciFi VC. Its core product, Fresh EBT, is a free smartphone app that allows EBT cardholders to manage their benefits, plan their grocery shopping, and save money on food.
“We’re excited to prove that venture-backed startups can responsibly address social issues, too,” founder and CEO Jimmy Chen told me via email. “In our business model, the best way to amplify our impact is to grow our business, by getting more users on the platform or by finding them more savings on groceries.” Propel has created a free app called Fresh EBT — the EBT refers the Electronics Benefits Transfer card, which is how participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (the food stamp program) receive their benefits. Apparently using the EBT card normally requires people to call a hotline and save their grocery receipts. With Fresh EBT, on the other hand, people can check their card balance from their smartphone, browse nearby deals, see which stores accept SNAP and create a shopping list.