Grubhub acquires payments and loyalty company LevelUp for $390M

Grubhub announced this morning that it’s agreed to acquire LevelUp for $390 million cash.

Founder and CEO Matt Maloney told me that while previous Grubhub acquisitions like Eat24 were designed to give the company’s delivery business more scale, “This is kind of a different acquisition. It’s a product and strategic positioning acquisition.”

LevelUp is based in Boston and offers a platform to manage digital ordering, payments and loyalty. Maloney said that buying the company allows Grubhub to deepen its integration with restaurants’ point-of-sale systems. That, in turn, will allow them to handle more deliveries.

At the same time, Maloney said LevelUp can help Grubhub build a restaurant platform that goes beyond delivery, for example by managing their customer interactions across mobile and the web.

“We want to help restaurants actively engage with their diners,” Maloney said. “This is a huge step in that direction.”

Once the regulatory waiting period is over, the entire team LevelUp team will be joining Grubhub, with founder and CEO Seth Priebatsch reporting to Maloney — who said that in the short term, he plans to change very little, aside from the POS integrations. Even in the long term, he suggested that LevelUp could continue to operate as its own brand within the larger Grubhub platform.

“They’re doing something really well and we don’t want to screw that up,” he said. “We want to make as little change as possible, until we all understand how we’re better working together.”

The LevelUp platform was launched in 2011, and the company has raised around $108 million in total funding, according to Crunchbase. Investors include Highland Capital, GV, Balderton Capital, Deutsche Telecom Strategic Investments, Continental Advisors, Transmedia Capital and U.S. Boston Capital.

“For the last seven years, we have worked to provide restaurant clients with a complete solution to engage customers, and this agreement is the biggest and most exciting step in achieving that mission,” Priebatsch said in a statement provided by Grubhub. “After close, the entire team will remain in Boston and our office will become Grubhub’s newest center of technology excellence.”

The announcement came as part of Grubhub’s second quarter earnings release, which saw the company grow active diners by 70 percent year-over-year, to 15.6 million, while revenue increased 51 percent, to $240 million.

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