New York- and Hong Kong-based business management company Bindo today announced the raising of US$2 million in a bridge round and the beta launch of a new iPad point of sale system for restaurants.
While Bindo is rather hush-hush about who the investors are, Benedict Wong, VP of Business Development, Bindo, told e27 that the new funding is led by traditional business people who run food and beverage chains, the largest laundry chain in Hong Kong and a chain of clothing boutiques.
“They (Bindo’s new investors) first saw our retail POS (point of sale) and were very excited about the prospect of being involved in the first Asia-focussed POS system and wanted to contribute their expertise in helping develop a system for food and beverages,” said Wong.
He added that 50 per cent of the bridge round will go into the company’s Asian operations, especially in Hong Kong and Singapore.
At the moment, Bindo employs 65 people globally, with around 40 people based in Hong Kong and three in its Singapore office. The rest are based out of the US. In an earlier interview with this author, Wong said that the company is also looking to open an office in Shanghai, China.
Bindo seeks to raise more than US$10 million in a Series A round to give its expansion into Asia an extra push and help the company launch a long-talked-about marketplace app Bindo Market in New York and Hong Kong. It previously received a seed round of US$1.8 million co-led by Gary Vaynerchuck, Metamorphic Ventures and East Ventures.
From retail owners to restaurateurs
According to an official statement, Bindo’s new point of sale system for restaurants will be available in beta at a few select restaurants until a public launch in mid-September. This will run concurrently with its existing solution for retail owners.
Additionally, this system will come with features such as the ability to integrate telephone orders, online ordering, table management, reservations and ingredient-level tracking.
“We met with so many restaurateurs who were fed up with the choice of POS systems available (both iPad and traditional POS). The iPad POS systems in the market were not sophisticated or robust enough for their needs and the traditional systems were expensive, inflexible and difficult to use,” said Brad Lauster, Co-founder, Bindo.
One particular restaurateur who was frustrated with the current range of point of sale systems in the market is Shoku Bar and Restaurant owner, Ivan Yeh. In the same statement, Yeh said that Bindo has helped him and his team reduce waste and take orders and payments at the table, which improves the customer’s dining experience.
Like any business, Bindo’s new point of sale system for restaurants will need to prove itself by building an initial user base. Wong told e27 that they have already gotten a few fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong on the beta version of the platform. “We have also found conversion rates to be actually higher than retail and we find restaurateurs generally more open to new technology services and solutions,” he said.
Bindo will also have to solve the network connectivity issue faced by restaurants that have poor WiFi reception, added Wong. Regarding that, the company will offer a hybrid cloud infrastructure and Ethernet connection option. “Speed is definitely a very important factor for restaurants given that peak hours tend to have very high traffic and frequent POS usage,” he continued.
In terms of dealing with competitors, whether local or foreign, Wong is confident that Bindo is far ahead of its counterparts. “We have a far larger team, more funding and an international client base, some of whom include large franchises or enterprise corporations,” he said.
The company also prides itself for the ability to scale with its clients. “Often, a smaller iPad POS system might be great for a small boutique, but once they grow to a certain size and need complex inventory transfers and warehouse management, they often look for a more powerful POS system such as Bindo,” said Wong.
Furthermore, the company is willing to localise for its clients in Asia, which is one thing that will set it apart from its peers in the US. These customisations can come in the form of offering features such as special tax schemes or custom reports for financial reporting that vary from country to country.