Allset Cofounders Anna Polishchuk and Stas Matviyenko Allset
When major cities around the world started shuttering their restaurants and bars, Ukraine-born Stas Matviyenko began to panic. He was just finalizing a $12 million funding round for his startup Allset, a platform that allows diners to pre-order and pre-pay meals to save them time normally spent waiting around. Restaurants were his company’s lifeblood.
“When they announced that dining was no longer allowed, we had to direct all of our development resources to remove our main feature: dining,” explained Matviyenko, who cofounded the company alongside fellow Ukrainian immigrant and Forbes Under 30 listmaker Anna Polishchuk. “Pickup for us was an additional feature, and then suddenly it was our entire business.”
The company immediately experienced a 60% drop in orders. And that wasn’t the only aspect of his business that took a hit: when Allset sent investors term sheets for final signatures, multiple funders decided to back out of the deal. Suddenly, the $12 million round dropped to $8.25 million. Nevertheless, today the company announced that it finalized the EBRD-led the Series B round, with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Greycroft, amongst others. The new round brings the Allset’s total funding to $16.6 million.
Initially, the company planned on using the funding to relaunch their mobile application. But that has been tabled as the company focuses on figuring out how to help restaurants, which the company needs to survive, weather the storm caused by COVID-19. They have experienced a surge in restaurants applying to work with them to build out their takeout business, with over 200 restaurants joining the platform over the past two weeks (the company has over 2,500 active restaurants right now).
To aid these restaurants, all customers receive a daily, $4.00 discount on pickup orders. Additionally, any restaurant that provides a contactless pickup option will have the company’s 12% service fee waved. Once Allset certifies and approves a restaurant’s contactless pickup area, Allset begins heavily promoting the restaurant across its platform.
But what is really keeping Matviyenko up at night is the thought of all the restaurants that threw in the towel too early.
“Around 30% of restaurants on our platform have shut down, and we expect 30% of that group will never reopen,” said Matviyenko, noting that those that have stayed open in residential areas have seen major spikes in activity on the platform. “What I can say for sure is that some restaurants have given up too early. Instead of closing, they should have invested in broadening their network of third-party platforms like us, Postmates and UberEats.”
Based on the company’s data, Matviyenko speculates that everyone headed to the grocery store to stockpile food amidst the uncertainty of the first week of quarantine. But last week Allset saw a 10% growth in ordering that has continued to grow this week as people explore options beyond cooking at home.
Eventually, Allset plans to add back the dine-in option. But the company doesn’t think that dining business will rebound quickly, even when restaurants are legally allowed to reopen.
“We are going to be in a different world after the quarantine,” says Matviyenko. “Even when restaurants reopen for dining, people will be slow to begin going out in public again and be close to other people in restaurants.”