Payment processing startup Forage, which helps grocers accept SNAP EBT payments online, hired Amazon veteran Kristina Herrmann for the new role of chief business officer, the company announced Wednesday. Her initial focus will be on bringing more retailers to the platform.
Herrmann spent 16 years at the retail giant, most recently as the architect of Amazon’s Underserved Populations team, working to bring online EBT payments to Amazon and Whole Foods.
“I’m really excited to continue to change the face of food access for our most-needy communities around the country,” Herrmann told WGB. “I’m super excited about what this could do for how people get their groceries.”
Nearly 42 million U.S. residents received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP, benefits to purchase food last year. SNAP recipients use Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, to pay for food through their accounts. The program distributes more than $100 billion in benefits nationwide.
It wasn’t until 2019, though, that SNAP users could buy groceries online.
At Amazon, Herrmann founded and led the Underserved Populations team since 2017, working to launch SNAP purchasing on Amazon, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods with a cross-functional team of workers from product, technology, UX, marketing and business development.
“Doing good for our country and the people in our country who have the least,” has been her mission, she said.
Forage was founded in 2020 and last month became one of three USDA-approved third-party vendors to process online SNAP EBT payments.
The San Francisco-based startup announced a $22 million fundraising round in August that included Instacart’s founder.
“Our mission is to democratize access to government benefits,” Forage CEO Ofek Lavian told WGB. “There’s a long way to go in terms of modernizing government benefits.”
Herrmann’s background with Amazon will be vital to Forage as it grows, Lavian said.
“Few people in the world know EBT as intimately as she does,” he said. “We feel so unbelievably lucky to have her here.”
Forage has about 40 customers so far, including e-commerce platform Shopify. It is also currently working with California-based Gong’s Market.