“Cover has been an exciting company to build, but hasn’t been the best for my waistline,” says founder Mark Egerman.
He and co-founder Andrew Cove want to do away with that awkward moment at the end of a meal when everyone starts padding themselves down for cash and doing math on paper napkins.
Their app, Cover, enters payment info and tip preferences ahead of time. When you walk into a partner restaurant, the app transmits a signal to a sensor at the entrance and your tab is already set up.
You still have to pull out your phone to let Cover know whether you’re joining a table or starting fresh. But you won’t have to touch it for the rest of the meal unless you want to bump up your tip or pay for someone else at the table. With this app you may never have to utter the words how-much-do-I-owe again.
“This is not a brand new idea. PayPal thought of this in the mid nineties,” says Egerman. Many companies, including OpenTable, Square, TabbedOut, and LevelUp have all been interested in mobile payments, but they’re still struggling to go mainstream. To that point, Square discontinued its wallet in March and then launched a new one specifically for ordering food.
But Cover is slowly gaining ground. Blue Hill, Momofuku Ko, Marc Forgione, L’Artusi, Toro, and Annisa are among the first 90 restaurants to adopt the app in New York and the company just opened the app up to San Franciscans. So far, 25 restaurants have taken interest. Those numbers may be growing soon too; the company just sacked $5.5 million to expand. For now it will be looking to gain traction in the cities it already operates in.
The company announced its seed round funding of 1.5 million when it kicked-off in the fall. Investor names included OATV, Lerer Ventures, AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, restauranteur John McDonald, all of whom stuck around for Cover’s first series of funding. Spark Capital lead this round.