MyCheck, another startup that wants to make it easy to pay your restaurant bill using your mobile phone, has closed a $5 million Series B. However, perhaps more noteworthy is the company’s new backer: the Spanish bank Santander via its recently launched Santander Innoventures Fund.
The $100 million fund launched in July with a remit to invest in early-stage fintech startups, with investments ranging from $100,000 to $10 million, so right across the board of early-stage. As well as capital, its portfolio companies are said to benefit from Santander’s “expertise and scale,” with the potential to have their product marketed to the bank’s 107 million-plus retail and commercial customers across Europe and the Americas.
“We approached Santander’s Innoventures Fund after the fund was announced in July last year,” MyCheck CEO Shlomit Kugler explains when asked how the investment came about. “The fund’s focus on fintech, particularly mobile payments, made it attractive to us. A conversation started, and we connected with Mariano [Belinky, Managing Director of the Santander Innoventures Fund] in September. We have since moved through the stages to where we find ourselves today.”
Initially launched as a consumer app in 2011, MyCheck has since pivoted to more of a B2B model, offering a platform that enables mobile payments/loyalty for big restaurant chains (such as Busaba and Prezzo in the U.K. and Blockheads and Aroma in the U.S.) and the hospitality industry more generally.
It pairs the ability for a restaurant’s customers to ‘check in’ and pay using their mobile — waiter-free, if you will — with analytics and business intelligence so that customers can engage and be rewarded in ways that are more personal, rather than generic loyalty programmes.
“The dining payment experience has not changed or improved since the credit cards were introduced, while the needs and desires of the customers and merchants have changed dramatically,” says Kugler. “Merchants today are struggling to succeed and are looking for higher tickets, more traffic, cut expenses, and more effectively market themselves. Customers are looking for an “Uber-like experience” – to use their smartphone to receive great offers, be able to pay and leave at will whilst leaving their wallet at home.”
MyCheck already has a market footprint that extends across the UK, U.S, Israel and Brazil. Kugler says the additional capital “will allow us to accelerate our growth more aggressively particularly across U.S. and Western Europe. Specifically, we will invest in marketing as well as hire senior business development professionals in key growth markets.”