Restaurant Payments App Cover Raises $5.5 Million From Spark Capital

Cover wants to facilitate the process of paying your check at the end of the meal, removing friction and encouraging more restaurants to accept mobile payments. To get more restaurants — and users — signed up, the company just raised a $5.5 million Series A round of financing led by Spark Capital.

The new round follows $1.5 million in seed funding that Cover had raised last spring. Other investors include O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Lerer Ventures and angels, such as Josh Spear, Dave Eisenberg, Ben Leventhal, Naval Ravikant, Andrew Kortina, James Altucher, Mike Greenfield, John McDonald, Chris Muscarella, Ed Zimmerman and Scott Belsky.

With the Series A investment, Spark Capital general partner Andrew Parker will be joining the company’s board of directors.

Cover hopes is to improve the dining experience by simplifying payment, making it easier for users to legally “dine and dash.”

Instead of going through the rigamarole of busting out their credit cards or splitting the check at the end, diners merely check in with the app when they arrive and alert their server that they’re paying with Cover. When a meal is over, payment will be made through the app, and will automatically be split based on the number of diners that were in the party.

No more calculating the tip, figuring out each person’s contribution, or waiting for change or credit cards to be swiped and returned. You just get up and go.

Cover is currently available in New York and San Francisco, and the team has signed up dozens of restaurants in each city. There are more than 80 participating restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with an additional 25 signed up in San Francisco.

The number and quality of restaurants available on Cover helped convince Parker and the Spark team to invest. “What impressed me was the quality of the restaurants taking part,” Parker said, pointing to restaurants like Momofuku Ko as one example of a high-end restaurant adopting the platform.

Part of the reason that Cover has been able to get so many restaurants to sign up is that average receipts are higher when people pay with Cover. But, just as importantly, there’s very little setup involved in adding Cover to their workflow.

While most restaurants are used to having significant upfront costs associated with hardware and training staff whenever new technology is put in place, adding Cover payments is basically free and can be set up in minutes.

Now that the new funding is in place, the plan is to double the Cover team in the next six months, from about seven full-time employee to 15, and to work on restaurant and user acquisition.