LevelUp Closes $50 Million Funding Round to Advance Product Development and Accelerate Growth
Today is a great day for all of us here at LevelUp. We just announced a $50 million financing round led by JPMorgan Chase, US Boston and CentroCredit Bank that will accelerate the impressive growth we’ve had over the last several years.
As you might know, LevelUp is building the next-generation mobile payment network, connecting consumers and merchants with a seamless experience that blends payments, analytics, and rewards. This moment is a great time to look back at how we got here and where we’re going, especially through LevelUp Agency’s work with emerging restaurant brands.
How it all began…
LevelUp started back in 2008 at Princeton University, when I pitched the company (called SCVNGR at the time) to the Princeton Business Plan competition. My team ended up winning and I dropped out of college to spend the summer at DreamIt Ventures building a mobile gaming company. After a year of hard work, we realized the real value was in mobile payments, not mobile gaming, and pivoted the direction of our company.
Pivoting a company is never easy, but with an amazing team, a lot of late nights and a couple of nerf gun battle breaks, we launched LevelUp in 2011 and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have achieved since then.
In addition to creating the LevelUp app and platform, we now power custom mobile solutions for over 200 national restaurant brands, including sweetgreen, Steak ‘n Shake , Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Our clients make up nearly 20% of the restaurants in FastCasual’s 2016 Top 100 Movers and Shakers list and one of our clients, VERTS Mediterranean Grill, was named one of Nation’s Restaurant News Five Hot Concepts.
Where we are now…
All of our restaurant partners have one thing in common: they strive to delight their customers through an outstanding experience. Having worked with over 200 restaurant brands, we know exactly what that means. It’s not just about streamlining the payment experience; it’s about personalizing it for each and every customer. Our goal is to help restaurants take customer engagement to the next level (no pun intended) by giving you the tools to understand and engage your customers and providing your customers with a one-stop shop for your brand.
Our clients’ success keeps us going and today’s announcement reinforces the work we’ve done with restaurants nationwide. In my conversations with investors over the last 10 years, I’ve always focused on finding partners that share our passion for technology and the restaurant industry. Today, I am thrilled to have the support of fantastic investors including Google Ventures, JPMorgan Chase, Highland Capital, US Boston, CentroCredit Bank and more.
Not only do they bring a strong financial backing to the company, but some of them are also using our platform to provide even more value to their customers. For example, JPMorgan Chase now rewards Chase cardholders while bringing new customers to LevelUp’s partner businesses.
Where we’re headed…
To say we’ve had a busy couple of years is definitely an understatement, but we know that the future is going to be even busier. Our 150-person team in downtown Boston is more excited than ever to continue to drive our mission forward. Whether you’re a customer using one of our LevelUp-powered apps, a valued client or partner, I want to thank you for helping us get this far. We can’t wait to show you what we’ll do next.