me&u & Mr Yum join forces to become the world’s #1 mobile ordering and payments platform

We are super excited to announce that me&u and Mr Yum are merging. I am humbled that two Aussie startups are coming together to take on the world. It’s a truly momentous moment for our teams & believers – this is because of you. Below is the script from my team announcement that shares the story in more detail. 

It all started at Baby Coffee Co in Alexandria

In Jan 2019, Sam Johnson walked into Baby Coffee Co in Alexandria, was greeted by a me&u sparkler who introduced him to an an oblong shaped thing in the middle of the table. he downloaded an app, connected his Bluetooth, added his credit card details, viewed the menu on his phone and proceeded to order a Flat White and the signature Bacon & Egg roll with extra avo. This marked the very first mobile order in Australia, it was also one of the very first in the world.

That first month we placed just 99 orders, the next month just 337 orders. Today we generate 2 million orders every month across 3 continents. This includes some of the most iconic venues on the planet – The Opera Bar, Merivale, Howard Smith Wharves, The Arbory, Rockpool Group, Truckyard (USA) & The New World Trading Co (UK.) 

We always set out to create something much more than just another tech company 

We set out to create something much much more than just another tech company. Much more than a beacon or QR code that sits at the middle of a table between friends. At me&u we truly believe in the magic of hospitality – where great tech & great humanity come together to craft beautiful experiences. A shared ambition to blend great Technology with great experiences to build a better, smarter future for our industry.

I founded me&u back in 2018 because I deeply believed there needed to be a better way. Standing 5 deep at Opera Bar on a Friday night didn’t make sense. Waving your hand in the air waiting for attention just to get another red, didn’t make sense. Wasting 10 minutes at the end of a great meal working out how to pay and how to split, didn’t make any sense.    

We set out to make the ordering experience more seamless, making the industry more profitable & bringing people together to connect and celebrate life’s special moments around the table. Something that is more important today than ever before. 

The Covid crisis hits the industry (and us), very hard

15 months later, covid hit. The doors to our great industry closed, our lives came to a standstill & our industry was decimated. It almost broke our industry & it most certainly almost broke us. But we made a promise to ourselves that we would be there to help the industry survive and thrive when the doors opened again. And we did. The industry would not have recovered as quickly as it did, if we didn’t lend a hand. Of the many things of which I’m proud about me&u, the way the team got behind the industry during these dark days is most certainly top of the list.

The 3 key ingredients to made an idea reality

We could never have made the me&u dream a reality without three key ingredients: 

  • Heart & hustle of an incredible team (past & present.) thank you for your hustle, your friendship and fight to maker this industry better. So bloody proud of each & every one of you. From small things, big things grow. LFG 🙂
  • Funding & belief from a bunch of incredible investors who see what you see 
  • Innovative customers who see the future before anyone else does ( Thomas Pash, @jim gold (HSW) + @john gallas (Opera Bar special call-outs)

Without these, we would be nothing but an idea. A special call-out to some of the all-stars from the early-days who gave us a big chapter of their lives and shaped us into what we are today Asheesh ChackoKishan ModiJohn ScottKiarne Greener (she/her)Calum GunnRichard Szalay & Darran Smith & to the board who never stopped guiding & supporting us Damian Smith, William EastonClifford RosenbergRobbie CookeRobert RoutleyAndrew BurtJohn SzangoliesAdam Flaskas (and Paul Henry.) Forever grateful for the blood, sweat & tears when the odds were so small.

The pitch back in the early days that gave birth to a great battle  

Back in 2018 when we were still in our formative year, I jumped on a plane to Melbourne to pitch for the business of Australian Venue Company  – the 2nd biggest group in Australia with 130 incredible venues. Unbeknown to us there was another scrappy startup pitching also. They won that pitch and went on to become our fiercest rival. Every deal we pitched, they were there. Every trade show we attended, they were there. Every article we featured, so did they. When we launched into the UK, so did they. When we entered the USA, so did they. They were resilient, they were agile, they were fierce. Together we pushed each other, we pushed the bounds of innovation, we made each other better. 

me&u + Mr Yum merge to create the #1 mobile ordering & payments platform in the world

That little scrappy startup was a company called Mr Yum. We were born in Sydney. They were born in Melbourne. We both went on to become world leaders. Today, we are planning to bring these two companies together to create the #1 mobile order & pay platform on the planet. Over $2bn in transactions per year in 6,000 venues, across 3 continents. 

Further this brings together some of the best industry thought leaders ( Justin Hemmes of Merivale, Bruce & Elliot Solomon of Solotel, Adam Flaskas of Howard Smith Wharves, Paul Waterson of AVC, @james power & Steve Donohue of Endeavour Group) & some of the leading VC’s (Tiger, Airtree, Acorn, Ten13) – now standing behind a united platform. 

From day one we created our startups to be Aussie businesses with global ambitions. Today we’re adding rocket fuel to those ambitions by bringing these two industry leaders together.

Huge callout to James Roth & the team at Record Point (our advisors) on the deal. You became an integral part of the team & family. Thank you.

For those curious about valuations – this is a script based merger which means there is no liquidity event, and as such no “valuation” is set with this round.  

As founder, I believe in a me&u Mr Yum merger for three big reasons: 

  • collectively we become #1 on the planet. we have a long way to go, but we are in an incredibly strong leadership global position. It’s not often that aussie born companies lead a global category.  
  • significant synergies: the synergies are obvious and they are significant. We will be able to accelerate our innovation and leverage our dominant cash position to go faster, go better and create value
  • accelerate our international expansion: cracking the USA and UK markets are hard, will take time and will require significant capital. Together we can combine our efforts to achieve that sooner. 

The leadership team

We have appointed Kim Teo (Mr Yum’s co-founder & CEO) as CEO of the merged business, I will sit on the board as a non-executive director & me&u’s current Chair (and legend), Damian Smith will assume Chair of the combined company. The broader leadership team will include a mix of leaders from both companies.

Kim loves being ceo and scaling great companies. I love being founder, and starting, creating, building something that has great legacy & solves deep category problems…and then handing that over to a ceo to build on. I couldn’t think of a better way for Kim & I to take advantage of our unique passions to achieve our ambitious goals.

Our current CEO, Katrina Barry (“KB”) will finish up with us in 2024. We owe a lot to her. As well as the visible signs of success in terms of our huge growth as a company in the last year, KB has led me&u superbly since early 2022, and this deal wouldn’t have happened without her. From leading our funding rounds, to helping me&u mature and become a more professional and efficient business with a clear pathway to profitability, she’s also brought a huge focus to developing our team and culture. We would not be where we are today without her, and on behalf of me&u’s directors, I want to thank her for her leadership. 

We are just getting started and can’t wait to see where we can take it from here.

more

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *