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Walking the Walk – Our Investment in Mr Yum

Published on
December 1, 2021
The Mr Yum founders — Kim, Adrian, Kerry, and Andrei
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When it comes to international expansion, there are Aussie founders who talk the talk, and there are others who walk the walk.

And then there’s Mr Yum.

When cofounders Kim and Adrian told us about their US expansion plans — they were literally getting off the plane at LAX, having just flown over to set up their US office. It was smack bang in the middle of the first wave of Covid, and Kim hadn’t even told her mum where she was headed because she didn’t want to terrify her.

That’s when we knew that this was a team who just Got.Shit.Done.

Since we first invested less than a year ago, they’ve expanded into the US & UK and have emerged as the global category leader in mobile ordering & payments. That’s one of the many reasons we couldn’t be more excited to invest (again) in Mr Yum’s $89m Series A round!

The Mr Yum founders — Kim, Adrian, Kerry, and Andrei

Backing an incredible team and culture

We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the founders — Kim, Adrian, Kerry, and Andrei — for over a year now, and what stood out from the very beginning was their focus on culture. The founders previously worked together on two startups and used that experience to align the company around a set of shared values. These values include: think 10x, run towards the fire, numbers over hype, and here to serve.

We’ve seen the founders live and breathe these values first-hand as they’ve expanded into multiple markets whilst maintaining laser-focus on the customer experience. But what’s been even more impressive is how the team has put the processes in place to scale their culture as they’ve grown the team 10x to >100 employees across three continents.

And it’s clearly paying off. Mr Yum is not only one of the fastest-growing companies we’ve ever seen, but also leads the industry in terms of customer and employee satisfaction.

The Mr Yum team as of April 2021

Rapid shift in consumer and venue behaviour

A large part of Mr Yum’s success has also been due to the fact that they’ve found themselves in the middle of some great market tailwinds.

After decades of swiping credit cards and ordering from paper menus, consumers are adopting online ordering solutions en masse and have experienced the power of QR codes as an efficient way of providing and displaying data.

This shift has been underway for a while now, but recent COVID lockdowns have really poured fuel on the fire. And what’s more important is that the numbers show that once customers have experienced it once, they never want to go back.

And it’s not just consumers that are benefiting. Restaurants and venues have historically operated on notoriously thin margins — and it’s only expected to get worse with recent labour shortages and rising minimum wages. Contactless ordering solutions such as Mr Yum provide a way for venues to adapt their service model and improve profit margins by ~10–15%.

Best product = best opportunity to win

From our first meeting with the team, it was also clear how much they valued the importance of a great product. Mr Yum is more than an easy-to-use pretty menu — it’s a powerful growth toolkit for venues with more integrations than any other product. Since our seed investment, the team has continued to lead the category from a product standpoint — with a proven track record of releasing new features well ahead of competitors.

At AirTree, we’re big believers that the best product gives you the best opportunity to win the market. Mr Yum is a textbook example of just that. And it’s showing in the numbers — as the majority of growth continues to come from organic, word-of-mouth acquisition. This is what happens when you build a product that makes businesses more profitable and makes their customers rave about the experience to their friends and family.

The team is rapidly hiring across multiple geographies — so if you’re keen to join them on their journey, please get in touch.

🍔 Want to know more about Mr Yum? Check out our conversation with Kim on how they achieved their explosive international growth.