Teo and his fellow co-founders Adrian Osman (COO), Kerry Osborn (CXO), and Andrei Miulescu (CTO) intend to bring their product to the world. International expansion plans form a key part of its strategy: The startup raised $100 million last year, with Skip Capital founder Kim Jackson and her husband, Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, among its backers. , who saw the adoption of technology by hospitality as a lucrative opportunity. .
But Mr Yum is one of two leaders in Australia’s small scan-order payment market, the other being Sydney-based me&u, run by Dimmi founder Stevan Premutico. Customers would be forgiven for not knowing the difference between the two; their table beacons are nearly identical. Both launched at very similar times, albeit one based in Sydney and one in Melbourne.
Both are in a race to conquer the US and UK markets; me&u recently named a new CEO (as well as a new CFO and two business development leads), allowing Premutico to focus on that.
The three respective markets (US, UK and Australia) are “super different”, says Teo: the UK market is “very competitive” and “very mature in their thinking”, and places take their time to carefully consider your options in a crowded market. Meanwhile, the US market presents its own unique challenges, with its unique customer service and tipping culture, meaning that adoption of the QR code for ordering and payment is “close to zero.”
“They are almost like salespeople in a store. They are personally responsible for upselling customers by getting as many tips as they can. Their work is rewarded in a very different way than in Australia”, says Teo. But the US job market is even tighter than ours, he points out. “Let’s get there.”
International growth isn’t the only way Teo’s team plans to spend the recent injection of capital: Mr. Yum recently acquired customer relationship management platform MyGuestList. Staff will also be added to the Australian team (Mr Yum has 260 full-time employees worldwide).
And then there is the simple principle of being cautious. “We don’t have to burn everything… it’s comforting to know that [we’ve] I got more capital in the bank than we planned and needed.”
‘We’re really different DNA’
When asked how Teo intends to gain an advantage over you and me, Teo says that the rivalry has been positive.
“Me&u and Mr Yum have worked together to change the industry. Not in a deliberate way,” she says. “We help each other educate a market, instead of trying to take each other down. It’s not a zero-sum game.”
But when it comes down to it, Teo distinguishes the two not by product features, but by culture.
“I would say that, behind the scenes, we are very different DNA than they are. The things they prioritize in business are different than the things we prioritize. It’s just a way of running companies that are really polar opposites.”
Teo also points out that his counterpart, Premútico, had the advantage of being an established figure in the hotel industry when he launched me&u.
“We were totally the underdogs, and I think a little underrated,” Teo says of when Mr Yum first launched. “We didn’t know anyone in the industry, barely, maybe a few people here and there, but not any super-significant backstory or black book to fall back on.”
For someone who says he doesn’t cook well, Teo is hatching some pretty ambitious plans.
“Our number one priority is to be the best product in the world and continue to lead in innovation.”
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