TabbedOut, the mobile tool that lets you pay bar and restaurant tabs, has landed a $2.05 million Series A round of funding, from New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA). The Austin startup began with a $750k angel round, bringing its total amount of funding to $2.8 million.
As part of the funding agreement, NEA General Partner Scott Sandell and Venture Partner Jimmy Treybig will be joining TabbedOut’s Board of Directors.
With the funding, TabbedOut will be expanding its product, seeking partners and fleshing out features. The development team spent a great deal of time on the primary functions of TabbedOut, ensuring its stability and usability before scaling up and out. It was a necessary step in TabbedOut’s strategy, as a tool of this nature requires a strong infrastructure behind it.
TabbedOut is a substitute of sorts, creating an encrypted version of your credit card in order to make secure payments from your cell phone. Unlike a payment gateway, TabbedOut’s application acts as a credit card and transaction between patron and merchant. TabbedOut’s primary interest is the end user, providing a device-specific representation of a credit card designed around their privacy. “It’s all about the check-out process,” says Rick Orr, CEO of TabbedOut during a call last week.
Interesting then, that Tabbed out also brought on Kevin McKeand as the new VP of Sales and Marketing. The former VP of Strategic Account Sales for AT&T Wi-Fi Services (acquired by Wayport in 2008) will be building out TabbedOut’s sales team across the U.S.
TabbedOut’s going after location-specific markets, which is a step many startups have taken in recent months. Hyper-localization is something that can be achieved through smartphones, and it’s becoming big business in a lot of different ways. Groupon has crowd-sourced discounts, Gilt is launching blitzkriegs across the U.S., and TabbedOut is setting up merchant partners that support its service.
In many ways, TabbedOut is like OpenTable, in that it’s able to build a specific profile around a user’s dining preferences. TabbedOut lets you save things like wine favorites at a particular restaurant, and has a feature for calling a taxi cab for pick-up. This provides a number of directions TabbedOut can expand its service on an individual level, making everyone a V.I.P. at participating merchants.
It’s a unique position TabbedOut has in the mobile payments industry, and it’s one that will have to be utilized for its hospitality appeal to users–its inherent, then, for mobile applications to replicate the service industry. This is where TabbedOut will continue to focus as it uses the Series A round to move its plan forward.