Melbourne-based mobile food ordering platform Mr Yum pocketed $89 million in a Series A funding round. Funds say it is poised to dominate the global market.

Melbourne-based mobile food ordering platform Mr Yum pocketed $89 million in a Series A funding round. Funds say it is poised to dominate the global market.
Melbourne-based mobile food ordering platform Mr Yum pocketed $89 million in a Series A funding round. Funds say it is poised to dominate the global market. Photo: Supplied
  • Mr Yum has pocketed a little over $100 million in funding this year, after scoring $89 million in a Series A round.
  • It’s the third-largest raise in Australian history, and the largest for a female-led outfit.
  • Funds expect the business to dominate the global market, as competitors struggle to match its growth.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Mr Yum, a mobile ordering platform that promises to streamline customer ordering processes across the hospitality industry, has landed $89 million in Series A funding.

According to early data, the funding round comes in as the third-largest in Australian history, and the largest Series A round secured by a female-led outfit, pushing the startup’s total funding to just over $100 million. 

Led by Tiger Global, the round attracted some bigger name backers as well. Among them were Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar and Kim Jackson, through Skip Capital, along with investments from Commerce VC, VU Venture Partners, NBA star Patty Mills, and even the band Rüfüs Du Sol.

Fevers are running high for QR codes. Before the pandemic created a “renaissance” for the humble scannable barcode, a cluster of Australian startups built businesses around them, promising to streamline the ordering process at bars and restaurants.

But Mr Yum has been able to harness explosive uptake in ways so far unmatched by local competitors, capitalising on a pandemic-induced distaste for analog menus — a hotbed for germs, also prone to sogginess — and human interaction that can otherwise be avoided.

As a result, Mr Yum has grown its staff from the 12 it had when it was founded in 2018, to the 120 now spread across Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Brisbane and its Melbourne headquarters. 

With its new cash pool, the business wants to “triple down” on dominating markets in the US and the UK, where CEO and co-founder Kim Teo wants to help hospitality businesses cement their post-pandemic recovery. 

“We couldn’t be more excited about the new partners that have joined our crusade,” she said. “Restaurants, hospitality and entertainment venues are embracing technology more than ever and our focus is building best-in-class tools to help them grow.”

“This funding… will allow us to triple down on our global lead on product innovation, to invest in our growing team around the world and continue to provide the best customer service to our hospitality and entertainment venue partners.”

Much of Mr Yum’s growth strategy has so far hinged on signing up major franchises and chains — like shopping centres, airports, festivals and cinemas — to secure a foothold in the market. In the last year alone, the company’s bullish growth strategy landed fresh contracts with Sydney Airport and Perth Airport, along with a global-first partnership with Afterpay. 

Pre-COVID, just 100 restaurants in Australia used the platform for in-house and takeaway ordering. Now, the company says, it has some 1,500 venues using its services, which are home to some 13 million users. 

By comparison, Mr Yum’s only material Australian competitor, me&u, has taken a more localised approach, aimed at hospitality groups like Solotel and Merivale. 

Merivale owner, Justin Hemmes, was a major investor in the Sydney-based startup’s $8 million Series B round in December 2019

John Curtius, a partner at the round’s leader, Tiger Global, said the fund is backing Mr Yum to become a dominant force in mobile ordering tech globally. 

“Tiger Global is heavily invested in restaurant technology around the world,” Curtius said. “We understand the category and players well and Mr Yum is the clear leader in product innovation for mobile ordering and payments.”

AirTree partner James Cameron said it’s rare to see consumers adopt a new behaviour as quickly as they have with Mr Yum’s products.

“Their QR codes have now become ubiquitous in Australia, and it’s happened pretty much overnight,” Cameron said.

“They’re now helping hospitality venues all over the country bounce back from a very tough period through COVID, and with this new funding they are able to double down on their international markets, where they are already growing faster than they were in Australia.”