A hospitality ‘super app’ has secured £7 million in funding from leading investors including former Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield.
Founded by Hugo Tilmouth (pictured left) and Charlie Baron (right), parent company theUp.co has been upgrading hospitality experiences since 2017, developing new solutions to help consumers order, pay and socialise.
Jägermeister and JamJar Investments – the ex-Innocent Smoothie founders fund – joined the round led by a leading private global investor.
The finance will be invested in fuelling expansion across UK and Europe, new hires and building a new ‘super app’ to launch in 2022 which aims to create a ‘one-stop frictionless night out’.
It will unify Tilmouth and Baron’s brands under one banner: ServedUp, a venue operator platform and mobile order and pay app; ChargedUp, a phone charging network; and hand sanitiser station network CleanedUp.
Serving over 35,000+ venues across Europe, the duo hope the fusion of hospitality services and technology will build on its two million users on ServedUp and the one million customers using ChargedUp.
“By unifying all of the brands under ChargedUp, we believe we can empower consumers and the trade through a full suite of digital solutions.” explained Up.co chief executive Tilmouth.
“Ultimately, we want to make hospitality as frictionless and data driven as e-commerce – think of it like the Amazon GO of hospitality.”
ChargedUp is a network of 3,000 charging points across 50 European cities, allowing people to rent a mobile charging pack from one destination and return it to another.
But as COVID-19 hit, the firm was forced into a pivot, turning their mobile charging stations into hand sanitiser bays.
“The businesses were totally different, but at their core they were both venue-based, with our network as the common thread. Getting people on board with this vision and understanding why it was valuable for the company has been instrumental in our success,” continued Tilmouth.
CleanedUp quickly secured major contracts with Transport for London, Costa, Crossrail, DHL and Hello Fresh.
In July 2020, the entrepreneurs partnered with one of the world’s largest producers of spirits and beers, providing sanitiser kits free of charge to pubs and restaurants throughout the UK as part of the trade recovery initiative ‘Raising the Bar’, manufacturing 25,000 units in nine days to help pubs reopen safely.
In 2021, in response to the reopening of pubs and restaurants, the entrepreneurs unveiled another technology offering, ServedUp.
Since then, the entrepreneurs have teamed up with a number of global alcoholic beverage manufacturers – including a project to pick up the tab on over 25,000 free gin and tonics all across the country.
“Our success began as a way to help our customers. We thought, how can we do something to help our venues reopen and make sure they’re compliant? Everything we have done to date has been based on this sentiment,” said Tilmouth.
“Based on those initial principles, we’ve grown the business and our network of customers 10x since the start of the pandemic, enabling us to reignite and move at speed with our technology.
“We’ve worked with one in three UK venues thanks to ChargedUp and CleanedUp and are continuing to ramp this up. Our full Epos system is now live and growing at 120% month on month, so we’re looking forward to 2022.
“Our focus is now on ChargedUp and ServedUp, unifying them under the ChargedUp stable through this super app, where we believe we can empower consumers and the on-trade with a full suite of digital solutions.
“With the new all-encompassing app, you’ll be able to discover the best spots; book them; order and pay; earn rewards from some of the world’s biggest beverage brands, all while keeping your phone fully charged while you do it. Making it as frictionless as possible for you to have an amazing day or night out.”
Blomfield added: “Bars and restaurants were hit really hard in the pandemic, and some sadly closed. It’s wonderful to see them now reopening, and our cities coming back to life. I’m delighted to be a backer of ChargedUp, a company that’s playing an integral part in that recovery by making it incredibly quick & simple for customers to order and pay. I think Hugo and Charlie are going to build a really special company.”