If this Seattle startup gets its way, the vendors throwing peanuts at sports games will have to find new jobs.
Cheq, which just raised $8 million, sells its ordering and delivery platform to stadiums and restaurants. Customers at select stadiums can now use the app to have items delivered to their seats.
The 47-person company was founded by Thomas Lapham, former CEO and Board Advisor of Asia Clean Capital, a Chinese solar panel developer. He is joined by his CTO Jim Castillo, a former software engineering lead at OpenTable. Chief Revenue Officer Jake Stone where he was CRO at Independent Sports and Entertainment. Chief Business Officer Jonathan Macy is the co-founder of a London-based start-up that converted a luxury car called the Evolotu.
Cheq aims to increase vendor sales while reducing customer wait times. The startup offers an app for pre-orders and delivery requests, as well as a POS system. Cheq also offers a feature like her Venmo that allows customers to “gift” items to another user. For example, someone watching a game at home can buy a beer for a colleague at the game.
The company is currently used in six sports stadiums, including the Miami Dolphins and the University of Washington. We also work with about 100 restaurants. Meanwhile, the company’s app has over 100,000 monthly active users.
Bringing ordering technology to stadiums and restaurants is not a new concept. In 2013, his startups Bypass, SnagMobile and Yorder aimed to bring in-seat distribution to sports games. But by 2015, Fortune reported that two of those three startups had disappeared. The only exception, Bypass, is now Clover Sport. The company currently sells custom hardware to Miami His Heat, Tampa Bay His Buccaneers, the University of Alabama, and more.
Large players also tried to break the food order at the stadium. Also in 2013, the New York Yankees partnered with Mastercard’s QkR to offer in-seat delivery in select zones. Meanwhile, Postmates has partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Yankees to enable pre-orders.
In the restaurant space, Cheq will take on established POS system providers such as Square, Toast and Clover.
Lapham argues that Cheq can differentiate because customers are drawn to the user experience and social aspects of its apps, while vendors prefer its subscription-based pricing model.
Asked how the startup plans to compete with Amazon’s walkout technology currently used by the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, Lapham said it would be “passive.” Cheq will reach out to customers directly from their phones, but he said the walkout technology’s main goal is efficiency, not sales.
The seed round comes after the company raised $5.4 million last year. It was led by West River Group’s Technology Fund, with participation from investors including Harvard University’s Yard Ventures. The company did not disclose the current valuation.