Digital ordering platform Olo announced today that it’s received an $18 million investment from NYC-based firm Tiger Global Investment. According to a release, the investment was structured using common equity.
Olo may not be a household name, but the NYC-based company has been around for what’s considered a long time in the world of restaurant technology. CEO Noah Glass founded it in 2005 as a pay-via-text service for feature phones. The iPhone, of course, was two years away from hitting stores, but once it and smartphones in general became the norm, Olo’s customer base mushroomed from 1 million in 2012 to 100 million in 2018. And in what could be a sign of these delivery-obsessed times for the restaurant industry, that 100 million orders processed in 2018 is the same amount Olo processed over the previous 12.5 years of its existence.
Olo’s digital ordering SaaS platform is specifically aimed at big brands with multiple (specifically, 10+) locations. Current customers include Denny’s, Which Wich, Five Guys, Jamba Juice, and Chipotle, to name just a few. The end-to-end system addresses everything from customer UI to POS integration to back-of-house management and menu management. Olo doesn’t compete with third-party delivery services; it more or less partners with them, so DoorDash or Grubhub orders placed via Olo go right into the regular queue of tickets, without an employee having to manually input them.
The latter is an especially important feature as restaurant chains attempt to juggle the process behind integrating disparate third-party orders into their regular ticket stream. Next time you’re in a major sit-down chain, glance around and see if you can spot the station for delivery tablets; it’s becoming an increasingly regular sight. That’s of course not the only benefit of Olo’s platform, but managing the growing number of sales channels is becoming increasingly difficult for restaurants, and the time is ripe for software that can fix that.
Tiger Global, meanwhile, has made a lot of investments of late, including booze-delivery service Drizly, Checkmate, who also aims to simplify online ordering, and Toast’s end-to-end restaurant tech platform. All of which is to say that Olo has some serious work cut out if it wants to stay ahead of the competition another 12.5 years.