Real-time restaurant reservation platform Eat App closes Series A funding round

The investment comes after Eat has seated more than 3.5M customers, generating over $250M worth of orders for restaurants to date in Bahrain and UAE alone.

Dubai, UAE; June 3, 2018: Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), one of the largest and most established venture capital firms in the MENA region, today announced an investment in Eat, MENA’s fastest-growing real-time reservation platform for restaurants. Nezar Kadhem, founder of Eat App, confirmed that MEVP’s participation closes out their $3m Series A round which also involved 500 startups and Pinnacle.

MAGNiTT sat down with Nezar Kadhem to learn more about the investment.

 

Q: F&B continues to be an area of interest for many startups. How do you differentiate to your competition?

A: We're positioning Eat to become a platform for restaurants to acquire users online. Restaurants plug into us, and we activate online reservations for them across a multitude of the largest B2C channels, including TripAdvisorGoogle and TimeOut. Check the links, you can book across all those channels, powered by Eat. No one else is doing this. On top of this, we also have a robust table management system and consumer facing app, which has superior features / front end compared to the regional players here.

 

Q. What are the key attributes of having a VC like MEVP invested in your startup?

A: MEVP's investment will help accelerate Eat's growth as well as provide expertise in SaaS, scheduling software and overall technology to restaurants. MEVP invested in Shedul, a global leader out of MENA focused on the salon and spa industry, Matic, which is focused on housekeeping and cleaning services and Golfscape, which is focused on golf course bookings across emerging markets.

 

Q. What are the core markets that you look to focus on as you continue to expand your product?

A: GCC (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar), Lebanon and Egypt.

 

Q. What challenges did you face if any when fundraising for your product? What advice/ tips do you have for other entrepreneurs looking to fundraise across the region?

A: 1- Pick a market that is less competitive, focus on getting your tech right, then enter the war zone.

2- Have a strategic focus on a highly defined market segment and build a product that caters to their needs extremely well, rather than having a more diluted product that tries to please everyone.

3- The human element is extremely important. Hire staff people like, gather key feedback and be able to smooth over any rough patches that may occur.

 

Full press release below:

 

Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), one of the largest and most established venture capital firms in the MENA region, today announced an investment in Eat, MENA’s fastest-growing real-time reservation platform for restaurants. Nezar Kadhem, founder of Eat App, confirmed that MEVP’s participation closes out their $3m Series A round which also involved 500 startups and Pinnacle.

Eat offers restaurants a cost-effective online reservation and table management system that enables users to reserve a table online in real-time. Equipped with powerful tech and a superior front-end experience, Eat is building a whole ecosystem around its core SaaS offering that aims to fulfill much of a restaurant’s “front of the house” needs.

Eat started its journey in Bahrain where it is today the leading player and has raised $3.4m to date, including an investment from 500 Startups. It is now experiencing accelerated growth across MENA with customers in Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, amongst others. Eat also has paying customers based outside the region, from over 35 countries globally.

Eat has seated more than 3.5 million customers to date, generating over $250M worth of orders for restaurants in mainly two countries so far, Bahrain and UAE. It experienced 50%+ growth in covers in some recent months. On the supply side, Eat has grown its restaurant base 4x over the last 12 months since it started focusing on its table management SaaS and its monthly revenues by over 250%. The company is receiving thousands of leads per month for its bookings engine and a key use of the current investment would be to increase conversions of these leads.

Eat's fast-paced growth has been driven by strong demand for its cutting-edge cloud products by large F&B operators such as The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, and Radisson Hotels, as well as through strategic partnerships with restaurant discovery platforms including TripAdvisor, Google and TimeOut.

MEVP's investment will help accelerate Eat's growth as well as provide expertise in SaaS, scheduling software and overall technology to restaurants. MEVP invested in Shedul, a global leader out of MENA focused on the salon and spa industry, Matic, which is focused on housekeeping and cleaning services and Golfscape, which is focused on golf course bookings across emerging markets.

Walid Mansour, Partner at MEVP, added “Eat is a true success story out of the Bahraini entrepreneurship ecosystem. We believe Eat is well poised to become the leading provider of tech

solutions to F&B players across MENA - beyond its current core markets and beyond table management. We think the Eat team has what it takes to make this happen. In fact, the most recent growth figures are a testament to superb execution capabilities.

MEVP will support Eat, building on our experience in SaaS regionally and globally”

“Eat's goal is to bring best-in-class software to restaurants and diners and become a central point to the multitude of online channels that make up today's F&B landscape," says Nezar Kadhem, CEO at Eat. "This investment gives us additional resources to continue to develop this vision regionally, as well as strategically expand into new global markets."

MEVP joins existing Eat investors including 500 Startups, Pinnacle and Tenmou.