Joe Marchese, the CEO of adtech company true[x], first got the idea for Reserve after a dinner with one of his earliest employees, Greg Hong.
Both men thought the entire process of dining out could have been made more efficient.
That dinner led to the creation of Reserve, an OpenTable competitor that wants to simplify the process of dining out – from making a real-time restaurant reservation to paying your bill at the end of the night.
On Wednesday, Reserve announced that it’s raised a $15 million Series A round of funding, bringing the total amount of funding raised by the startup to $17.3 million.
Reserve’s Series A round is led by Human Ventures Capital, Marchese’s firm, as well as Expa, a startup lab of sorts created by Uber co-founder Garrett Camp. Expa has raised $50 million to help build startups, including Reserve. Also contributing to Reserve’s Series A round are First Round, Lowercase Capital, Advancit Capital, Sherpa Ventures, SV Angel, Venture51, Visionnaire Ventures, and angel investors including Jared Leto, Jon Favreau, and rapper Will.i.am.
“Many of our early investors are known for knowing a good thing when they see it,” said Reserve CEO and co-founder Greg Hong in a post announcing the new round of funding, referring to Reserve investor First Round Capital, which was also an early investor in Uber.
“As our initial investors watched our progress and velocity, many of them urged us to pull together a syndicate round for our Series A to allow the group to continue to be involved at a larger level. The feedback, advice and support we’ve received from our investor group has been invaluable, and we’re glad to have the opportunity to continue to work and collaborate with so many talented individuals and organizations.”
Here’s how Reserve works:
Reserve initially launched in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles three months ago, and has since rolled out in San Francisco, partnering with 110 restaurants in total. If you’re in one of those cities and you use Reserve, you use the app to enter details about the size of your party (you can book a reservation for up to eight people), when you want to eat (Reserve lets you reserve a table up to 32 days in advance), and what kind of restaurant reservation you’re looking for. Reserve sends information via text to the person who organized the dinner.
The restaurants Reserve partners with are given iPads from the startup that have the Reserve app already loaded. Restaurants can quickly and easily accept or reject reservation requests, not unlike how an Uber driver will accept or reject a passenger’s request to be picked up.
For popular time slots, Reserve offers a bidding feature that lets willing users pay a premium to make the reservation theirs.
The best part of Reserve is the seamless payment process. Like any number of apps, like Seamless or Uber, your credit card information is saved in Reserve’s app. It also saves your tipping preferences. You’ll never have to ask for a check, and your bill is settled automatically. When you’re done with your meal, you’re given a little card from Reserve reminding you that your check has already been paid.
Reserve takes a $5 fee after the reservation is complete. If you cancel your reservation less than two hours before you’re supposed to show up, Reserve will charge $10 per person. If you’re a no-show, Reserve charges $25 per person.