Malou, a startup that helps restaurateurs optimize the acquisition and satisfaction of their online customers, has raised a €10 million funding round led by the Dutch VC henQ, alongside the New York VC Bleu Capital, business angels such as Bertrand Jelensperger, the founder of The Fork and several restaurant clients.
Launched in January 2021, the young company’s solution allows restaurateurs to manage their online presence and image themselves. This financing will allow Malou to accelerate its growth in France, improve the functionality of the solution and expand internationally, in Europe, the Middle East and the United States, focusing on big cities with, initially, New York and Paris.
“Today, good food, excellent service and remarkable decor are no longer enough. Customer acquisition is now done online for restaurants, they need to be visible and attractive, and yet it is not their job,” said Louiza Hacene, CEO and co-founder.
Malou allows restaurateurs to manage all the key elements of their online image themselves: SEO, social networks, e-reputation and digital interactions. The platform makes it possible to integrate, within a centralized hub, a restaurant’s Google page, its social media profiles as well as listing and delivery platforms.
The startup has developed its own AI and automation solutions to efficiently analyze and generate responses to customer comments, write posts for social networks and ensure consistent information between different channels. Malou indicates that it now makes between 2 and 5 million ARR, thanks to 2000 customers in 12 countries.
“If we hadn’t raised any money, we would have been profitable within a few months. We have a bootstrap mentality, but we have raised to accelerate on the product, technology and data,” added Louiza Hacene.
Malou plans to recruit 50 people by the end of 2024, including a financial director, a human resources director, developers and data scientists.