Tock wants to get you into the world’s hottest bars and restaurants.
The company, which provides a cloud-based platform to eateries and imbiberies allowing them to manage reservations and pre-orders for dining experiences, raised a $9.5 million funding round led by Valor Equity Partners and Origin Ventures on Wednesday.
CEO Nick Kokonas said their backing is a huge vote of confidence for the company, and gives them ability to scale their customer acquisition efforts.
“They don’t invest in companies they don’t think can get to the billion-dollar-plus valuation,” said Kokonas. “We can bring dozens and dozens of restaurants to the platform all at once. Those types of deals become much more tenable and easier to close when you have a major funding round done, because they know you’re in it for the long haul.”
Additional investments were provided by acclaimed chefs Andrew Zimmern and Thomas Keller, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Chicago Ventures, Howard Tullman’s G2T3V fund and Grubhub co-founder and CEO Matt Maloney.
They don’t invest in companies they don’t think can get to the billion dollar plus valuation.”
According to Kokonas, the startup has spent the time since its founding building out its engineering team, led by co-founder, CTO and former head of Google Chicago Brian Fitzpatrick. Their efforts have primarily been focused on developing the back end of its product.
With the new funding, more staff will be onboarded to assist in other departments.
“We’re hiring on the sales, marketing and support side,” said Kokonas. “We anticipate adding another 30 people next year to the team, largely in those roles.”
The company currently works with over 1,000 food and beverage businesses — from mom-and-pop joints to Michelin-rated establishments across 23 countries. Additionally, it is expanding its reach deeper into the winery and pop-up market.
Kokonas said Tock’s emphasis on giving agency to its customers has helped the company grow quickly in the highly competitive vertical.
“We put the restaurant in control of their own marketing and information,” said Kokonas. “We don’t try to own their customers. We allow them to reach out through Google, social media, etc. They know who that customer is and where they got them.”
Kokonas also said there will be announcements regarding a partnership with an international hotel chain and a new product rollout coming soon.
“We’re going to be launching, essentially, a Tock 2.0 product early next year that will have some cool new features we’ve been working on for over a year,” he said.