NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Velocity Mobile LTD. today announced its acquisition of Cover Inc., the leading mobile payments app accepted at over 350 restaurants in NYC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The acquisition will accelerate the expansion of Velocity's global hospitality platform, which connects premier restaurants with affluent diners, empowers them to settle their bill directly from their phone, and builds loyalty through tailored status and rewards programs at the world's leading venues.
- Velocity has acquired Cover, the leading restaurant mobile payments brand in the US, and market leader in New York City.
- Also announces the completion of $4M greenshoe in Series A-round, bringing total raise to $16M – one of the largest ever Series A rounds in hospitality tech.
- Transaction catapults Velocity into the market-leading position in the world's largest hospitality market as well as solidifying its position as the world's leading international mobile payment and loyalty platform for restaurants and nightlife.
- Acquisition is Velocity's first major transaction as part of its strategy to harness mobile payments technology to connect premier venues with the global tastemakers and biggest hospitality spenders.
- Velocity expects to announce further acquisitions as it expands its global footprint in the world's premier hospitality cities, as it builds on its vertically integrated stack of hospitality technology to improve the restaurant experience and connect premium venues and power diners.
- Combined venue network now includes hundreds of iconic restaurants and hospitality groups – and 21 Michelin stars – in London, NYC, SF, LA, including the likes of Carbone, Daniel, Cosme, The Slanted Door, Al's Place, smoke.oil.salt, Republique, Sketch, and Gymkhana.
- Velocity diners spend 14% more than the average guest, and Velocity will roll out to hundreds more world-class venues over the coming months.
"We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Cover, the first major step in accelerating our international roll-out," said Alex Macdonald, Velocity Co-Founder and Co-CEO. "With the acquisition, we are excited to bring our suite of loyalty, CRM, and analytics tools to restaurateurs in the US, enabling them to identify, attract, and retain high value, trend-setting customers. We see ourselves as a hospitality company first, and a technology company second – a value shared with our newly expanded US team."
The acquisition is Velocity's first major transaction as part of its strategy to connect premier venues with the global tastemakers and biggest hospitality spenders. Velocity will provide a vertically integrated stack of hospitality technology and services to heighten the dining experience and connect premium venues and power diners. With this acquisition, Velocity is now the largest restaurant mobile payment company in the world.
Velocity was co-founded by childhood friends Zia Yusuf, a former Executive Director at Goldman Sachs, and Alex Macdonald, who previously managed the acquisition, optimization and growth of multinational manufacturing companies. Building on the success of Velocity in the UK, the company secured $16M Series A financing to accelerate international expansion aligned with its clientele, including additional cities in the US, Europe, and Asia.
The greenshoe was anchored by Lars Christensen, Saxo Bank CEO and co-owner of 2-Michelin-starred restaurant Geranium. The Cover acquisition adds Spark Capital, OATV, and Lerer Ventures to Velocity's international roster of shareholders, which includes angels Tom Glocer, former Thomson-Reuters CEO, and Shukri Shammas, Initial Capital Partner.
"As CEO of Saxo Bank, I appreciate the needs of demanding, internationally mobile customers," said Lars Christensen. "As co-owner of Copenhagen-based gourmet restaurant Geranium, I was impressed by how much value Velocity adds for both the restaurant and customer. They harness technology in the best possible way, by delighting customers and heightening the hospitality experience."
"The Velocity users are trendsetting, global jetsetters, which is an attractive audience for our restaurants," said John McDonald, owner of the Mercer Street Hospitality restaurant group. "Most importantly, through mobile payments we know that users associated with the Velocity brand spend materially more than our average cover."
"We are helping leading restaurants improve yield by driving more revenue per cover and attracting influencers," said Zia Yusuf, Velocity Co-Founder and Co-CEO. "Meanwhile, the global spenders and tastemakers want access to the sought-after tables at the best venues. Harnessing mobile payments enables customers to leverage their profiles across the globe, we are building an international hospitality brand to connect these two constituencies."
Cover employees will join the Velocity team across multiple disciplines, and Velocity will invest in the Cover mobile apps and payment infrastructure. Venues will have the option to keep the stand-alone iPad-based solution or upgrade to Velocity's payment and loyalty platform fully integrated with their POS, which includes a venue dashboard and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
In conjunction with the Cover transaction, Mark Egerman, Cover Co-Founder, will become the company's Executive Vice President, Payments. Andrew Cove, Cover Co-Founder, will join the Velocity advisory board.
"Changing consumer behavior and capturing the attention of the premier, global restaurateurs requires a bulletproof product, embedded loyalty into the user experience, and a premium brand that aligns with the influencers in hospitality," explained Egerman. "Velocity and Cover share this vision, and together we can uniquely bring an unrivaled, international combination of assets and sensibility to the market."
Specific terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
Velocity is the world's leading international digital hospitality service. Velocity partners with the world's best venues and empowers them to attract, delight, and retain high-value global customers. Velocity enables diners to leverage an international dining profile wherever they go, rewarding them for their global hospitality engagement. Velocity is the 2015 Headline Partner for Action Against Hunger. Velocity is a Spark portfolio company, with other shareholders including OATV and Lerer Ventures, as well as prominent angel investors such as Lars Christensen (CEO of Saxo Bank), Tom Glocer (former CEO of Thomson-Reuters), and Shukri Shammas (Partner, Initial Capital). www.velocityapp.com