American Express Ventures has invested in the latest round of funding for Boxed Wholesale, a bulk shopping startup based in New York. In January, Boxed announced a $100 million round of funding from Safa Partners, GGV, and DST Global. The venture capital arm of American Express (AXP) has joined that round as another series of preferred stock, according to CEO Chieh Huang. The amount American Express invested was not disclosed.
The deal is significant for Boxed, since the company it aims to disrupt, Costco (COST), ended its relationship with American Express earlier this year. Visa will now provide the bulk shopping chain’s credit cards. All existing American Express Costco cards will be invalid as of June 19.
Boxed, which Huang noted accepts all credit cards, has already introduced perks for American Express members, including samples, special membership boxes, and express checkout. Over email, Huang promised “lots more to come” this year.
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When Boxed closed its $100 million funding round, numerous startup unicorns valued at $1 billion or more suffered valuation write-downs from mutual fund investors. At the time, Huang said he felt like Indiana Jones, reaching in to grab his hat a split-second before a giant stone door closes.
Given today’s news, it appears he had plenty of time. Beyond accumulating venture capital, Boxed has made headlines in recent weeks for announcing it would pay for the college educations of all of its full-time employees’ children. Last week the company extended that offer to include employee weddings up to $20,000. Boxed has 125 employees; Huang estimates 10% of them will get married. He justified the expense by the fact that the company doesn’t offer the standard perks one might find at Silicon Valley startups, like lavish happy hours, free lunches, or pingpong tables.
Prior to founding Boxed, Huang sold his gaming startup, Astro Ape, to Zynga.