Not just one but several big announcements are coming out of the corporate communications office of the company formerly known as eatsa. Now called Brightloom, the San Francisco- and Seattle-based technology solution provider today unveiled its new corporate identity as it relaunches as an integrated digital platform for restaurant brands. It is not the first time the company has successfully reinvented itself.
Brightloom will reportedly now offer a complete end-to-end, cloud-based platform that weaves together a number of digital solutions for restaurant brands, allowing any restaurant to provide its own best-in-class mobile engagement, loyalty and omni-channel digital ordering offerings to its guests.
At the same time, Starbucks Coffee Company announced a deal with Brightloom that entails granting the company a software license to select components of Starbucks proprietary digital flywheel software. In connection with the licensing agreement, Starbucks will take an equity stake in Brightloom and receive a seat on the company’s board of directors. The terms of the financial deal were not disclosed.
Brightloom will reportedly combine its existing technology assets with software licensed from Starbucks industry-leading digital flywheel. The combination is expected to lead to the development of a cloud- based software solution for the restaurant industry that will connect customers to their favorite restaurant brands.
Brightloom plans on making available the software solutions to Starbucks global license partners and will open this platform up to the entire restaurant industry of merchants. Starbucks will continue to drive software development of the Starbucks digital flywheel for all its company operated markets.
But wait, there’s more: Brightloom also announced that it has secured a $30 million funding round led by Tao Capital Partners and Valor Equity Partners along with Starbucks licensees, including Alshaya Group and Alsea. Starbucks previously invested $100 million into Valor Equity Partners and Valor Siren Ventures, its restaurant and retail technology incubator. As part of the agreement, Brightloom will work with global Starbucks license partners to deploy the platform around the world.
Brightloom will reportedly use the new round of funds for technology development, including integrating Starbucks’ software into what will become a comprehensive technology suite. Brightloom will unveil its next generation Brightloom platform in October. Both existing and prospective customers will get a first look at the integrated technology and product roadmap. The goal, according to the company, is to provide premium, comprehensive and customizable solutions through a software and hardware platform to simplify the entire guest journey from the time of order and payment, through the kitchen, all the way to pick-up, and even after the in-store experience with digital rewards and offers.
It’s a very different vision than the one the company embraced only a few short years ago, as discussed here (“A Modern-day Automat Reinvents Itself, Rolls Out New Solutions for Virtual Restaurants”). Originally, the company positioned itself as a restaurant operations company that offered a modern-day, digitally-enabled take on the automat. From its first restaurant in San Francisco, the company expanded rapidly, opening half a dozen locations in New York City as well as Washington, D.C. But most of the restaurants went the same way as the automats of yesteryear, closing almost as quickly as they opened. The company nixed its plans for a national chain and went back to the drawing board.
Soon, eatsa reinvented itself as a technology solution provider, making its technology, which integrates kiosks, POS systems, mobile ordering, cubby lockers and delivery, available to other restaurants. Earlier this year, eatsa unveiled its Omnichannel Intelligent Queue Software, which integrates multiple order channels, blending and sequencing the orders for back of house teams to provide efficient order management and accurate order availability times to customers. Additionally, eatsa’s Spotlight Pickup System was introduced to create a dedicated area in the front of house to enable an pickup experience for customers and delivery service providers.
How these existing platform capabilities will become integrated with the components of Starbucks digital flywheel software and rebranded as a cohesive whole under the new Brightloom moniker is not yet entirely clear. What is clear, however, is that the company formerly known as eatsa has an uncanny ability to continuously remake itself into something new and different, and also attract a lot of attention — and money — along the way.