Thrive Global: Taking Care of the World’s Health, But Better
This is the story of one of the most influential women worldwide who majestically turned pain into power, Arianna Huffington!
Arianna’s journey to stardom was anything but smooth. As a stalwart woman, Arianna never looked back at the hardships life constantly threw at her. Instead, she walked the extra mile, got accustomed to the harshness of the business world, and fought with all her might to make a life for herself, one she deeply believed in - and deserved.
The never-ending struggle to the business top burned Arianna out. But, amid the exhaustion, she once again turned her downsides into advantages and created a company that solved similar problems for millions of strugglers worldwide.
Thrive Global began as a personal passion project, and in the years to come, it grew into one of the most beloved well-being-oriented platforms of the day. Dive deeper into Arianna’s story to understand her power of transformation and the road less taken that took her there.
A Ripe Ambition
Arianna Huffington, one of the most influential women in the US, comes from Athens, Greece. Born in 1950, she learned all about powerful feministic values from her mother, whilst immersing in her father’s journalistic work from a young age.
Living within a serene community was good while it lasted, but her parents’ sudden divorce left then ten-year-old Arianna brokenhearted.
Nonetheless, Ariana, today a single mother herself, aimed high to afford the life she always aspired to live. While growing up, her curiosity sparked up a compelling wish to study at one of the most renowned worldwide universities – Cambridge.
During that time, however, Greeks would raise their eyebrows at women dreaming out of the ordinary. Consequently, the family’s closest relatives discouraged Arianna’s mother from allowing her daughter to fly overseas to study.
Yet, Arianna’s mother would move mountains to lead her daughter onto a more promising path, so she borrowed money from acquaintances, packed Arianna’s bags, and accompanied her to the airport.
Left all on her own, and proving to the world that, although a woman, she could achieve greatness like many men out there, Arianna enrolled at Cambridge University to study economics. Eager on learning, Arianna graduated with flying colors in 1970.
Hungry for more knowledge, she majored in the same field two years later – all of which would set in motion a powerful chain of events to shape her future success.
Fresh out of college, Arianna embarked on a journey no one would have imagined for her. Although she excelled in math, Arianna began paying more attention to her growing interest in writing, and suddenly, she found herself in-between choices – to pursue her economics career or become an eminent author.
The artistic soul within the bright girl predominated, and Arianna began developing her writing skills whilst burning the candle at both ends.
Her efforts soon led her to publish her very first book, The Female Woman, in 1974. Surprisingly, it was a well-accepted work that made Arianna want to pursue her career in the Neverland of success – the US. Stuffing her bags, she departed for New York to do greatness.
Writing prolifically in the next few years, Arianna excelled at her craft. Around that time, she also met her soulmate, Michael Huffington, with whom she settled down in California.
For well over a decade, she lived a happy life, writing, loving her husband, and taking care of her two children. However, her future of her family would begin to crack at the edges, ultimately leading to an unforeseen divorce.
Experiencing dreadful pain all over again, and left a single mother, Arianna had no other option but to work hard to afford her children’s future, as her mother did for her. As fate would have it, this experience would help Arianna grow personally and professionally - ever so swiftly and assuredly, so she would never have to worry about money again!
Arianna Meets the Entrepreneurship World
Confident in her skills, Arianna ran for governor of California in the mid-2000s and raised almost $1 million for her campaign. Even though her candidacy failed, she became highly aware of the huge influence of the Internet, since most of her campaign money was raised online.
Whilst discussing the power of media with American businessman Ken Lerer, he and Arianna decided to design a platform that would inform people of the daily news whilst allowing novelists to contribute to the site by writing blog posts.
Together, the two raised a seed capital with a little help from their friends, and in 2005, the Huffington Post was launched.
Arianna then reached out to her colleagues and asked them to become contributing writers on her platform. Skeptical and unassured, no one wanted to cast the first stone and accept the post, but when Norman Mailer - a famous American novelist - agreed to write his first blog, the rest happily followed up.
For the next few years, the Huffington Post was thriving, and Arianna was learning everything about scaling a business. Not the one-way-street to success, Arianna soon faced her first business obstacle.
In early 2011, the site reached nearly thirty million visitors a month, but the server couldn’t keep up with the growing number, so the strategy had to be changed. For this to be done, the two co-founders needed additional funds, and there was no better option than to convince a wealthy third party to acquire it.
Soon after, she met with the AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong, and they promptly found a middle ground, ultimately resulting in AOL acquiring the company for over $300 million. Arianna kept her position of chief editor at Huffington Post in the following years but being overworked bugged her, so much so she was ready for yet another fresh start.
On a Mission
While Arianna was building Huffington Post, she wasted no time in perfecting the site. With no one to help raise her teenage daughters, Arianna had to figure out a way to multitask, by cutting down her regular sleeping hours.
It was a sour idea and it came with additional repercussions. Collapsing from burnout, Arianna hit her head on a desk and fractured her cheekbone.
In the next few days, Arianna found herself in numerous waiting rooms, where she surprisingly got to socialize with other patients and learn more about their everyday lives. What she learned in turn was that, unfortunately, successful or not, burnout and exhaustion were bound to happen to a person at one point in life.
This powerful thought was followed by a moment of clarity and a very important question - could Arianna help a sleep-deprived nation to wake up rested and more productive?
To answer that question as intended, Arianna first had to start with herself, and that’s exactly what she did. Out of the blue, she began meditating, working more productively, eating healthy, and most importantly, sleeping more. Realizing that the main culprit for her sleep deprivation was her Blackberry, she left it be and replaced it with a good book.
Thinking of ways to encourage more people to change their daily habits, Arianna stepped down from her position at Huffington Post and headed towards her next venture.
Arianna’s initial venture idea was to coach people on how to live their better life by interconnecting three core elements – a media platform, workshops, and a hub, where users could exchange ideas on various topics concerning mental health.
From the very beginning, Ariana knew that people were desperate for such a platform, and it was only a matter of time before someone created it. Self-assured that her future project would impact people globally, Arianna poured the seed round and found a team of few to help kickstart the platform.
A few months later, in 2016, Thrive Global was launched!
The launch was crowned with a whopping $7 million from Blue Pool Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Jack Ma’s venture fund.
The funds were used to gather professional potential that would work on a new vacation email tool that could automatically delete new emails during a user's leave of absence, responding to the sender politely - to let them know when to write back.
A year later, Thrive Global secured an additional $30 million from IVP, multi-billion-dollar venture capital to scale the company’s growth.
The same year, the company became the global market leader in its field, aiding its users to cope with stress and burnout, whilst relying on the platform’s science-based solutions.
Today, the company earns over $6 million in annual revenue and employs over 200 workers in the US, with its headquarters located in NYC. It all began as a simple mission to put an end to the stress and burnout epidemic that brought the world to its knees.
Nowadays, the company deals with the most complex of health issues, and does so to perfection, with a highly driven lady boss navigating the ship with nothing short of skill, lust for betterment, and a mission to get people thriving globally!