Aussie hospitality tech startup Mr Yum has raised a massive $89 million in Series A funding, as it gears up to launch the “Shopify for restaurants” on a global scale.
The round was led by US investment firm Tiger Global. Other investors include Skip Capital — the venture fund headed up by Kim Jackson and her husband, Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar — and Kogan founder Ruslan Kogan
Existing investors AirTree and TEN13 also contributed to the raise.
Founded in 2018, Mr Yum is a QR code-based ordering and payments platform for hospitality venues.
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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the team built out a delivery platform for its customers in a matter of days, providing an alternative to the likes of UberEats and Deliveroo, and allowing the startup to turn a profit for at least parts of the year.
This latest funding follows an $11 million raise in April 2021, just seven months ago.
Since then, Mr Yum has launched in both the US and UK, even as its main Aussie markets of Melbourne and Sydney went back into extended lockdowns.
“It’s been a wild year,” Mr Yum co-founder and chief executive Kim Teo tells SmartCompany.
“To become the market leader in a category and sustain this long term requires a lot of firepower,” she explains.
As a rule, startup raises are trending larger and becoming more frequent. For Mr Yum, she says this Series A is just the beginning.
“There’s all the letters of the alphabet to go.”
While Teo doesn’t share any revenue growth figures, she does point out that the team has grown to more than 120 full-time employees, up from a team of 12 pre-pandemic.
Mr Yum also now has five offices around the world and more than 1500 venues on the platform, with a total of 13 million users.
Over the past 12 months, 44% of Australians have used Mr Yum, she claims.
Building the “Shopify for restaurants”
With this latest funding, Teo has set her sights on building the “Shopify for restaurants”.
Shopify has become a market leader in global e-commerce by offering an adaptable and powerful tool that integrates seamlessly with customers’ existing operations.
Restaurants and other hospitality and entertainment venues are crying out for something similar, Teo says.
“We’re moving fast to own this category.”
That means launching new products, features and integrations to boost the capabilities available for businesses in the sector, Teo explains, at a time when they’re more receptive than ever to tech.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the mindsets of hospitality business owners on a global scale. Having spent time in Australia, the US and Europe, Teo has been struck by just how similar the hospitality industries are all over the world.
After almost two years of incredibly challenging conditions, there is demand for anything that can help them run more efficiently, and therefore more profitably.
And this isn’t a temporary shift, Teo says.
“We’ve never been more excited and bullish about building something as impactful and long-lasting as what Shopify has created in retail.”