SEATTLE — Starbucks Coffee Co. has announced an investment in Brightloom, a restaurant technology company focused on creating an end-to-end digital customer experience platform for the food service industry. Starbucks said the investment will accelerate its offering of mobile ordering and payment options to improve customer convenience.
As part of the investment, Starbucks will grant Brightloom a software license to certain components of Starbucks’ proprietary digital flywheel software, which includes mobile ordering and payment, app personalization and its rewards program. Additionally, Starbucks will take an equity stake in Brightloom and receive a seat on the company’s board of directors.
“We’re delighted to partner with Brightloom and drive a broad innovation agenda that extends relevant customer experiences from brick-and-mortar to a digital-mobile customer connection,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive officer of Starbucks. “At Starbucks, we have experienced first-hand the power that comes through digital customer connections that are relevant to the customer. The results we’ve seen in customer loyalty and frequency within our digital ecosystem speak for themselves, and we’re excited to apply these innovations toward an industry solution that elevates the customer experience across the restaurant industry.”
Brightloom will combine its existing technology assets with Starbucks’ digital flywheel to develop a cloud-based software solution that will connect customers to restaurant brands. Brightloom said it plans to make the resulting software solutions available to Starbucks’ global license partners and will eventually open the platform up to the entire restaurant industry.
“The food service and restaurant industry is in the middle of a seismic shift,” said Adam Brotman, c.e.o. of Brightloom and former chief digital officer for Starbucks. “It’s no longer just optional to have a front-footed strategy when it comes to mobile ordering, delivery platforms, loyalty and personalized digital engagement. We are excited to partner with restaurant operators, big and small, to bring that strategy to life.”
Founded in 2015 under the name eatsa, Brightloom is rebranding as it enters the Starbucks licensing deal and is relaunching as an “integrated digital platform for restaurant brands." Under the new moniker, the company will offer an end-to-end, cloud-based software as a a service platform that combines digital solutions for restaurant brands, such as mobile engagement, loyalty and omni-channel digital ordering.
Starbucks' investment in Brightloom was part of a $30 million funding round that included Tao Capital Partners and Starbucks licensees Alshaya Group and Alsea.
“The fact that we will now be combining our platform with the leading digital flywheel software in the world, Starbucks, perfectly positions us to offer the best-in-class solution to the industry," Mr. Brotman said. "We believe any restaurant brand should be able to engage customers digitally using a seamless combination of mobile, omni-channel ordering and loyalty offerings. Up until now, only a select few brands could afford, or knew how, to put together a truly seamless mobile ordering, loyalty and topnotch digital platform. Because our digital flywheel offering will be in the form of simple and affordable software as a service, it will truly level the playing field for all.”