Mr Yum rival Me&u raised $30 million in a round led by Acorn Capital in December 2022 to give the 3.5-year-old startup enough runway for its push to be profitable next financial year.
The raise was led by Acorn Capital, with the only acknowledgement of the investment appearing in the ASX-listed (ASX:ACQ) investment company’s December quarter update, released in early January.
Me&u lets restaurant and pub customers order and pay for food and drink via a QR-code on the tables. It was launched by Stevan Premutico in 2019. He previously founded restaurant booking platform Dimmi (now rebranded as The Fork), before it was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2015.
The hospitality app previously raised $8 million in a Series B in December 2019 and 12 months ago, was reportedly looking for $50 million in its latest round after bring on Katrina Barry, the former MD of Trafalgar and Contiki, as CEO.
News of the $30 million Series C round, which takes the total raised to $66 million, emerged as an aside in an interview Barry had with the Nine newspapers.
She said the company was still losing money, but added: “We will break even this year in financial year 2024. That’s what I’m using that $30 million for.”
In 2021 Me&u expanded to UK and in 2022 into Texas and California. Premutico is now based in the US and is focused on growth there, with Barry taking the lead in Australia and the UK.
Just like rival Mr Yum, which raised $89 million in a Series A led by Tiger Global in November 2021, then cut staffing twice in the last 8 months, including another 40 jobs last month, Me&u cut 20 roles – around 17% of its team of 125 – in July last year, Barry revealed to extend the company’s runway and cut cash burn.
The business now services around 1,250 venues in Australia, alongside 120 places in the US and another 100 in the UK.
The tech startup has several high profile backers from the hospitality industry, most notably Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes, with the smartphone app rolled out across his Sydney pub empire. Other backers include chef Neil Perry, Urban Purveyor Group founder John Szangolies, who like Perry, had a lucrative exit after selling his restaurant group to a private equity firm, and former Facebook, Uber, MYOB and Google execs William Easton, Mike Abbott, Tim Reed, and Jason Pellegrino.
In its quarterly update, Acorn Capital cited Me&u has having 70% market share of the country’s top pub groups compared to 20% for Mr Yum and 10% for others.
Me&u was contacted for comment on its raise. We’ll update this if we hear back.
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