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Venture Capital News: Velocity Grabs $22.5M Series B Round

NEW YORK, NY, Velocity, the world's leading discovery and instant booking platform for premium dining experiences, announced today a landmark $22.5 million raised in Series B funding led by DIG Investments.
Other participants in the round include high-profile hospitality names such as Barry Sternlicht, Founder of Starwood Hotels Group, and John Paul, one of the world's largest concierge companies. Following an initial $16 million secured in first round financing in 2015, Velocity's Series B investment serves as one of the largest-ever financial backings for a technology start up in the restaurant industry and will support the company's expansion to 29 cities worldwide by 2020.

'We are delighted to announce this milestone, which has made us one of the best-funded startups in the global space,' said Zia Yusuf, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Velocity. 'Our Series B funding is an important step forward in growing our brand, increasing our bandwidth for exciting new features and building our presence in the greatest cities around the world.'

Founded in 2014, Velocity is headquartered in London and New York, with offices in Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. Having grown its venue count over 800% over the last 12 months, the app has become a leading player in the premium dining space. Velocity has partnered with some of the world's finest restaurants, including New York's Blue Hill, Catch, Bowery Meat Company, Craft Restaurants, Toro, Lure Fishbar and Ippudo, an infamously high-demand ramen restaurant that now offers reservations exclusively through Velocity. The app has also recently partnered with London's opulent Park Chinois, along with trendy Miami restaurants Alter, Casa Tua, Estiatorio Milos and Komodo and San Francisco's Slanted Door and Cala. In Los Angeles, Velocity's new and noteworthy restaurants include Leona, Boa, Ysabel, Mercado and Scopa Italian Roots.

Sanjan Dhody, Non-Executive Director appointed by DIG Investments commented, 'Having been an early investor in Spotify, Palantir and Lyft, the goal is to find world-class companies and assist them in forging global success. Velocity is a game changer for the $3.5 trillion restaurant industry, combining compelling technology, an intimate understanding of hospitality and a world class management team.'

The app, which features instant bookings at a curated selection of the most sought-after restaurants from city to city, has experienced exponential growth with the acquisition of several global restaurant platforms: Cover, the leading dining mobile payments app in the U.S.; Tab Payments, a Canada-based mobile payments app serving Toronto and Montreal; and Uncover, the first restaurant discovery and mobile reservations app in the U.K. These strategic acquisitions have allowed Velocity to offer a fully integrated dining experience, placing the company at the forefront of the world's largest hospitality market. Since its Series A in Summer 2015, Velocity's revenue has more than doubled, downloads have risen by 225% on a quarterly basis and its venue roster has increased by 800%.

'We have been aggressively implementing the latest hospitality technologies to drive better yield and make up for some of our tables with slower turns,' said John McDonald, Owner of Mercer Street Hospitality. 'From partnering with Velocity, we have easily utilized last-minute table openings and we have attracted an audience of trendsetting, global jetsetters that tend to spend more than our average cover.'

'Unlike years past when luxury goods dominated the market, affluent consumers are now spending approximately the same amount on upscale hospitality experiences,' commented Alex Macdonald, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Velocity, on recent shifts in upper-class consumer spending. 'As a result of our Series B financing, we now have the resources we need to keep Velocity at the forefront of this movement.'

Armed with a fast growing, world-class team, Velocity has announced the hire of Amanda Terry as Chief Operating Officer. Terry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the company, having led Direct Response Ad Products for Twitter in San Francisco, in addition to holding senior roles at Zagat and NBC Universal.

Early investors of Velocity include Initial Capital Partner, Shukri Shammas, Tom Glocer, Board Member and Chairman of Morgan Stanley's Technology Committee and Former Thomson-Reuters CEO, in addition to Lars Christensen, Founder & CEO of Saxo Bank.

About Velocity
Founded by Zia Yusuf and Alex Macdonald in 2014, Velocity is a leading digital platform for instant insider access to the world's best dining and hospitality experiences. Established in London and now dually headquartered in New York, Velocity offers a high-quality brand experience that allows users everywhere to feel like an insider in some of the most influential cities around the world. With the acquisition of three award-winning players in the restaurant technology sector, (Cover, Tab Payments and Uncover), Velocity is the first mobile app to provide users with one seamless, easy-to-use platform to discover, reserve and pay internationally. Named 'One of the Most Luxurious Smartphone Apps' by GQ, Velocity has partnerships with over 1,100 restaurants, including a myriad of Michelin-starred classics. Velocity is a Spark Capital portfolio company with offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

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