news Australian startup Beat the Q Posse Group today announced the closure of an oversubscribed Series A $5M funding round led by key investment partners, the Westpac backed venture fund Reinventure and venture capital firm Exto Partners.
The investment comes after a number of cafe-oriented startups — Posse, Beat the Q and E-Coffee Card — merged several months ago to form the Beat the Q Posse Group. The group’s mission is to “build the ultimate dining application for Australians and to significantly improve the payment process for customers when dining out or grabbing a coffee on the go”.
Reinventure and Exto Partners are the first institutional firms to back the Group. Early stage funding of the group has so far been from a line-up of Angel investors that includes Silicon Valley super angel Bill Tai, Yahoo Global CFO Ken Goldman and Google Maps Founder Lars Rasmussen as well as locals Macquarie Bank Head of Principal Investments Alex Harvey, Reckon Founder Greg Wilkinson and Vocus Communications Founder James Spenceley.
In a statement issued this morning, Beat the Q Posse co-founder Rebekah Campbell said the new funding would be used to rapidly accelerate growth by investing in innovative product development, marketing, and scaling merchant acquisition.
The company will also rebrand its flagship application Beat the Q to Hey You, effective 10 August 2015. Hey You users will gain access to an upgraded app, which combines the best of the company’s three products and will enable users to order, pay, gain loyalty benefits, discover new places and connect with storeowners.
“We’re looking forward to launching new features such as group ordering and beacon enabled table service. There are so many ways technology can improve the way we discover, transact and interact with shops and we’re excited to be working with great partners such as Reinventure and Exto Partners to bring our vision to the world,” said Campbell.
Co-founder Adam Theobald agreed: “We’ve accomplished a great deal since the merger late last year. We’ve tripled our customer base in six months, we’re now processing more than 40,000 food and drink orders every week, and have transacted $10M on behalf of our cafes.”
The company has recently made a series of high profile hires. GroupOn Sales Director, Paul Clifford has jumped in to lead merchant acquisition and former Big Commerce senior developer Chaitanya Kuber is heading up the engineering team.
Reinventure Co-founder and Managing Director Simon Cant said: “We’ve been following this Group for some time and have been very impressed by Beat the Q’s high user engagement and Posse’s track record of growth. Based on the product vision and scaling plan, we believe that the integrated product will become an indispensable tool for Australian cafes and other merchants. We very much look forward to supporting them to achieve that goal.”
Exto Partners Managing Director Peter Hammond expects ordering via the Hey You app will become second nature to Australian smartphone users. “Hey You makes scrambling for cash or cards a thing of the past. Exto Partners is excited to be joining with Beat the Q Posse Group and Reinventure in bringing personable, mobile search and convenience to dining,“ Hammond said.
I don’t fully understand the business model for the Beat the Q Posse Group, but it certainly looks as though the startup is starting to achieve a great deal of traction in the cafe scene. I suspect there have been a few pivots along the way.
There are perhaps two interesting things here. Firstly, there is the involvement of a large institutional investor such as Westpac, and the amount — $5 million — which is very unusual for the Australian startup scene. This indicates that institutional investors are starting to become very interested in Australian tech startups.
Secondly, it is worth noting that Campbell is one of the founders of Labor’s Labor for Innovation policy and campaigning group. These two facts combined lead me to suspect that Campbell may have a few political ambitions. The entrepreneur is certainly positioning herself perfectly for a run at Parliament. Her resume is certainly impressive — she’s a master networker, appears adroit at business, and has plenty of non-profit runs on the board. One to watch.
Image credit: Beat the Q Posse Group