Target Hill Capital invests in KC-based fast-food tech company
Kansas City, Mo. – After just launching earlier this year, local venture capital firm Target Hill Capital has made an investment in a promising tech company poised to disrupt the restaurant industry and ultimately change how diners interact with restaurants.
Digital Baron, based in Leawood, Kan., has created the only “App-less mobile order and pay platform” for quick-service restaurant customers. And the whole thing started with a failed fast-food run by founder Eric Tucker.
“After struggling to communicate a drive-through order in a heavy rain, I just drove off in frustration,” Tucker said. “I later founded Digital Baron to develop a better ordering experience. Now, placing an order is as easy as sending a text—because it is sending a text.”
Known as Skip, the platform combines a device’s standard messaging app with the mobile Web to offer consumers an easy-to-use mobile interface for order and pay— without installing a new app on their phone.
After developing and patenting the product, the company began a pilot program in three Dairy Queen locations (Missouri, Georgia and Colorado). The pilot test has exceeded expectations and provided valuable insight into how to make the product better.
While looking for investors, Digital Baron became acquainted with Target Hill Capital through a mutual connection in December 2017. Target Hill was intrigued by the enormous opportunity, and after conducting its due diligence decided to invest in January 2018. Marshall Dougherty, partner at Target Hill, said the experience and passion of Digital Baron’s leadership team were key factors in their decision to invest.
“They work very well together as a team, they’re open-minded and ‘coachable’ learners, and they have track records of success,” he said. “And they demonstrated they’re very thoughtful and disciplined in designing and executing their business processes, both internal and external.”
Early results have already proven Skip’s effectiveness, including higher guest counts, increased speed of service and higher order accuracy. And in a market test earlier this year, Skip improved the average amount spent by restaurant customers by 20 percent.
“Skip truly empowers restaurants with digital solutions to grow their revenues and reduce costs—all while improving the customer experience,” Tucker said.
The company is also working on self-ordering kiosks that can be placed within restaurants and is negotiating with a point-of-sale (POS) vendor to gain access to hundreds of additional restaurant brands. The company also plans to expand beyond fast food to fast-casual and full-service restaurants, and integrate with food delivery services, such as Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash, and others.
Target Hill’s Dougherty is confident that Digital Baron is poised for even greater success and now has a product they can legitimately sell nationwide:
“They’re an agile team who executes well, learns quickly, and applies the knowledge gained to improve the product,” he said. “I have no doubt Skip will soon be improving the ordering experience for consumers everywhere!”
To learn more about Skip, check out this article in Startland News.