Cover Raises $1.5M From OATV And Others To Bring Uber-Like Payments To Restaurants

Posted: May 8, 2013 in Technology
Tags: ,

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New York City-based startup Cover wants to make
paying for your meal at a restaurant ultra-easy, like so
easy that you don’t even have to look at the check.
So the company has raised $1.5 million from O’Reilly
AlphaTech Ventures to make that happen. So the idea is this: Ever been out to a restaurant with
a large group of say, 10 or so? You’ve just had a nice
meal, great conversation, lots of wine and then the
check comes and panic ensues. You could do that
thing where 10 people all throw their credit cards in to
split the check 10 ways… But then there’s always that one guy who has cash, or the person who just
ordered an appetizer or doesn’t drink, and probably
shouldn’t pay the same amount as everyone else. Settling up is a pain in the ass, but it doesn’t have to
be. That’s the premise behind Cover, which seeks to
simplify the process through the magic of mobile
payments. Cover founders Mark Egerman and Andrew Cove
decided that a solution was needed to make the
experience of paying a check as seamless as, say,
paying for a ride on Uber. Egerman, who describes
himself as a “recovering attorney” that had previously
worked at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told me that, despite the growing number of mobile
wallet solutions out there, few consumers were taking
advantage of them. Mostly, the two believes, that’s
because the user experience just wasn’t that good. “We wanted a service that lets you dine out and pay
without waiting for the check,” Cove said. “Dining out
should be about the people at the table around you.
We wanted to make it about that experience.” What they set out to build, then, was a payments
platform and mobile application that would reduce all
the fuss and calculations that happen when the check
comes. It was important to them that the platform
would be able to gracefully handle large groups, and
also that it would work with restaurants’ existing point- of-sale systems so that they wouldn’t have to install a
whole new order, ticket, or payments system. For users, Cover is designed to allow one-click,
instant payments… without them even having to get
the check. Users simply check in to a restaurant at
the start of their meal, and when it’s time for them to
pay the final bill, it’s immediately charged to their
credit card. They modelled the experience on Uber, which Egerman called “one of the best payment
methods” out there. For groups, the app allows users to check in and
choose which members of the party they’ll be paying
for. If all diners have the Cover app, it’ll be taken care
of with no fuss. For those who don’t have it, they’ll
still be able to pay for their share with cash or credit
card. Cover isn’t the only startup trying to tackle mobile
payments at restaurants — there’s also TabbedOut,
and of course, Square. But others have some
limitations. For TabbedOut, the check-out flow isn’t
as simplified as what Cover is aiming for. And Square
requires businesses to use its own POS system. The app is still in private beta, but the startup has
raised $1.5 million in seed funding to get it off the
ground. The round was led by OATV, with
participation from Lerer Ventures and angels such as
Josh Spear, Dave Eisenberg, Ben Leventhal, Naval
Ravikant, Andrew Kortina, James Altucher, Mike Greenfield, John McDonald, Chris Muscarella, and
Scott Belsky.

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