Restaurant reservation start-up Eat App is riding the wave as the hospitality sector continues to grow and wants to be what Airbnb has done to hotel booking.
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Dubai, Eat App is cashing in on the paradigm shift happening currently in the food tech space and has raised $5m in Series B funding.
The funding round was led by 500 Startups and Derayah VC with follow on investments from MEVP, FA Holdings, and many international VC’s and regional angel investors.
Nezar Kadhem, CEO and Co-Founder of Eat App, told TechRadar Middle East, that they sell restaurants the software with a monthly fee.
“We collect available table inventory via our in-restaurant software and distribute in real-time to customers for online bookings. Visitors to the TripAdvisor, Time Out, Zomato, Google and about 30 other local platforms are now able to make instantly confirmed bookings through the integration of Eat’s real-time table booking technology,” he said.
Moreover, he said that Eat App supports 1,000 restaurants, hotels and hospitality groups in the Arab World.
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Growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia
The startup has tie-ups with 600 restaurants in the UAE, 100 in Bahrain, 100 in Lebanon and rest is spread among Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, etc.
Originally from Bahrain, Kadhem said that in the UAE, 80% of its business comes from Dubai, 15% from Abu Dhabi and the rest from other emirates.
“The business keeps exciting us as table reservations over the phone is time-consuming and frustrating,” he said.
In 2019, he said that Eat App has generated over $32m in revenue for its restaurant partners and had over 46m monthly active users on its app.
With offices in four countries, UAE, Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and its online marketplace cover 21 countries globally; Kadhem does not want to rest on its laurels.
“With the $5m fund, we intend to invest in technology, IP and double our R&D team. We plan to scale our sales team across the region. We have just entered Saudi Arabia and there are a lot of growth opportunities with many new restaurants, hospitality groups and the market is completely underserved in terms of technology,” he said.
The startup had raised $2.2m in Series A funding, inclusive of seed funding till last year.
“We have succeeded at building a scalable and predictable restaurant acquisition model and we have an impressive product roadmap focused on new verticals including online restaurant payments, guest loyalty, PoS integration and HR management to differentiate from the crowd,” he said.
Moreover, instead of competing on the consumer side with all other websites, he said: “we gave our technology to the websites and we make revenue. We are the largest distributor of online booking technology.”