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 to be profitable next fiscal year.
The increase was led by Acorn Capital, with the only recognition of the investment appearing in the ASX-listed (ASX:ACQ) investment company’s December quarterly update, released in early January.
Me&u lets restaurant and pub customers order and pay for food and drinks via a QR code on the tables. It was launched by Stevan Premutico in 2019. He previously founded restaurant booking platform Dimmi (now renamed The Fork), before being 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 seeking $50 million in its latest round after Katrina Barry, the former MD of Trafalgar and Contiki, stepped down as CEO attracted.
News of the $30 million Series C round, bringing the total amount raised to $66 million, came out as an aside in an interview Barry had with the Nine newspapers.
She said the company was still losing money, but added, “We’re going to break even this year in Fiscal Year 2024. That’s what I’m using that $30 million for.”
In 2021 Me&u expanded to the UK and in 2022 to Texas and California. Premutico is now based in the US and focused on growth there, with Barry taking the lead in Australia and the UK.
Like rival Mr Yum, who raised $89 million in a Series A led by Tiger Global in November 2021, and then cut staff twice in the past 8 months, including a further 40 jobs last month, Me&u cut 20 positions – about 17% of his team of 125 – Last July, Barry revealed he would extend the company’s runway and reduce cash burn.
The company now serves approximately 1,250 locations in Australia, in addition to 120 locations in the US and a further 100 in the UK.
The tech startup has several high-profile backers from the hospitality industry, most notably Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes, who rolled out the smartphone app in his Sydney pub empire. Other backers include chef Neil Perry, John Szangolies, founder of the Urban Purveyor Group, who, like Perry, had a lucrative exit after selling his restaurant group to a private equity firm, and former Facebook, Uber, MYOB — and Google executives William Easton, Mike Abbott, Tim Reed, and Jason Pellegrino.
In its quarterly update, Acorn Capital quoted that Me&u has a 70% market share in the country’s top pub groups, compared to 20% for Mr Yum and 10% for others.
Me&u was contacted for comment on the increase. We’ll update this if we hear anything.