Announcing our $5.25m Seed Round

Posted
September 12, 2022
Abhinav Kapur

Today marks an incredible milestone for Bikky. We are excited to announce our $5.25 million Seed financing, led by Richard Kerby at Equal Ventures, Dan Teran at Gutter Capital, and Angela Tran at Version One Ventures, with participation from ERA's Remarkable Ventures Fund.

We are also grateful to have numerous restaurant operators in the round, some of whom are Bikky customers, like folks from Groucho’s Deli, 16 Handles, Evergreens, Milk Bar, INDAY, 5 Napkin Burger, Boloco, and Aurify Brands. For some of these folks, Bikky is their first investment in a technology partner, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have them as an indelible part of our story.

Bikky empowers restaurants to access, analyze, and act on their most unique asset - their customer data. Success in our industry has always been rooted in knowing your guests. With Bikky, restaurants have a single, unified view of who they serve, what they’re doing, and how they impact the business. We believe customer data is the critical ingredient for restaurants to thrive at a time of huge transformation in our industry.

I’d like to use this announcement as an opportunity to look back on our journey so far, and share what this financing means for us.

Our Journey

I fell in love with our industry a decade ago, watching my mother-in-law run her own restaurant here in New York City. Her story is one of passion and grit - arriving in the U.S. at 18, holding various odd-jobs while raising a family, and starting different businesses to achieve enough financial flexibility to give her children a better life.

In 2001, without any formal hospitality background, she took another leap by starting a fine dining Indian restaurant to elevate the food she grew up eating. Within two years, she had two stars from the New York Times. Her journey would last another 20, before retiring earlier this year.

My mother-in-law outside her restaurant, Amma, in NYC

She was a world class operator - remembering names and faces when folks walked through her door, striking up conversations at the right time, understanding how and when to revamp her menu, optimizing staffing across dayparts based on the kind of customer she served (delivery-heavy at lunch, experiential at dinner), redrawing delivery zones to maximize reach and revenue without sacrificing quality…

Her tools were a POS, a phone, and her intuition. She was physically in-store six days a week, always keeping track of operations, inventory, and the guest experience.

A Time of Rapid Transformation - Powered by Data

Building an enduring brand today though is a lot harder.

Business is shifting off-premise, payments are going digital, and front-of-house teammates are being replaced by kiosks and QR codes. The customer relationship is fragmented across 6+ ordering channels, and numerous other digital touchpoints like email, SMS, loyalty programs, reservations, in-store wifi, and waitlist services. Beyond this, guest expectations continue rising, and with the growth of third-party delivery and virtual brands, we are now entering the era of “infinite shelf space” for food ordering. 

But the offshoot of our industry’s digital renaissance provides operators with a critical asset that's typically only available to the largest enterprises: customer data.

At Bikky, we believe the next generation of hospitality - and the brands that deliver incredible guest experiences - will be powered by data. Instead of relying on analog tools and intuition (sorry Mom!), restaurants will use data to deeply understand who their guests are, what they’re doing, and how they impact the business. 

They will use a customer-level view of their data to power their marketing, in-store operations, menu optimization, location growth, and so much more - all with a view of maximizing the fundamental drivers of their business: retention, frequency, and lifetime value.

To harness this data, restaurants need their own, industry specific customer data platform (CDP). A tool natively built to integrate with all those aforementioned ordering channels and customer touchpoints. A system of record that unifies disparate data into a singular, holistic view of customers, accessible to decision makers across marketing, operations, finance, culinary, and the C-Suite.

Many of us have heard the term “data is the new oil.” At Bikky, we believe we’re finally at the tipping point for the restaurant industry to access, analyze, and take action on their customer data. We’re proud to work with over 60 multi-unit brands across hundreds of locations today, pushing the industry forward with tools and tactics that the broader travel, hospitality, and retail industries have successfully leveraged over the past decade.

What's Next?

We’re excited to roll up our sleeves and double down on our work.

Despite the wave of innovation in ordering and payments over the past three years, most restaurants are still at the earliest stages of their data journey. That means working shoulder to shoulder with some of the most thoughtful, humble, and hardworking individuals I’ve ever met - both internally at Bikky, and across our industry.

We’re excited for the opportunity ahead - helping brands access their customer data, go beyond cursory sales reporting to understand how their actions impact guest frequency, retention, and lifetime value, leverage these learnings to improve the business, and drive incremental sales and profitability.

Please reach out if you - or a restaurant brand you know - are looking for deeper access and understanding of your customer data.

Thank You's

I want to give a big thank you to our customers, team, early investors, industry partners, and friends. There are so many to mention, but I specifically want to call out:

  • Solomon Choi, Alex Choi, and Sean Gunner at 16 Handles - for being our first customer and believing at the earliest stage;
  • Marcus Byrd and Grant Lieberman - our work together at Dos Toros shaped my thoughts on how restaurants could leverage their customer data;
  • Robert Guarino at 5 Napkin Burger - for experimenting with the data in ways that pushed our platform forward
  • Deric Rosenbaum at Groucho’s Deli - for your constant feedback on what we’re building, and for always schooling me in how the industry works;
  • Ricky Richardson, Laura Boles, Haley Hendrix, and Roger Beasley at Eggs Up Grill - you continue to be fantastic partners and helped us establish ourselves with larger multi-unit brands; and of course…
  • The entire Bikky team. You live by our “partners not vendors” ethos every single day, and I couldn’t be more proud of how far we’ve come, and more excited for where we’re heading.

The key to building an enduring restaurant brand today is the same as when my mother-in-law started over 20 years ago: understanding who your guests are and providing a memorable experience whenever you serve them.

The future though will be defined by data - and Bikky is proud to help restaurants adapt and thrive in this new era of hospitality.

Almost the entire Bikky team at a recent hang - unfortunately we missed Gary Luo!

Thank you,

Abhinav Kapur

CEO + Founder, Bikky