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Liven Expands with $152 Million Acquisition Spree in the Hospitality Sector

Liven, a nine-year-old restaurant loyalty platform, has undertaken a significant expansion move by investing $152 million to acquire four complementary hospitality tech companies. These acquisitions include two Australian businesses, one in Singapore, and another in California. This strategic move aims to diversify Liven’s product offerings and enhance its global presence.

The Melbourne-based data company has acquired the following companies:

  • OrderUp: A veteran in the online meal ordering business.
  • Abacus: A seven-year-old restaurant point-of-sale solution provider.
  • Copper: A U.S.-based restaurant payments business.
  • Zeemart: A platform specializing in food supplies ordering in Singapore.
  • This aggressive spending spree follows a challenging period for Liven. The loyalty and engagement platform recently faced financial difficulties due to the collapse of the Melbourne CBD establishment Calia. Reports indicate that Liven is owed approximately $2 million by Calia. Liven offers cashback rewards to diners for future purchases and, in some cases, extends loans to its hospitality clients. In the case of Calia, these funds were handed over to voluntary administrators at Jirsch Sutherland in late June.

A spokesperson for Liven clarified that the collapse of Calia has no direct impact on their operations and financial standing.

Liven’s customer loyalty platform currently serves over 6,000 clients across Australia, South East Asia, and the United States. It offers a range of hospitality tech solutions, encompassing front-of-house, kitchen, and back-office operations. With more than 200 employees, Liven has offices in Sydney, Brisbane, New York, Singapore, Indonesia, and its headquarters in Melbourne.

The co-founder and co-CEO of Liven, William Wong, shared insights about the company’s acquisition strategy. He emphasized the challenges that the hospitality industry faces due to technology and data fragmentation, which result in innovation bottlenecks and increased costs. Wong noted that by integrating these acquired companies into a unified platform, Liven aims to maximize the benefits for operators and expedite the pace at which these benefits become apparent.

Shahrooz Chowdhury, co-founder and co-CEO of Liven, added that these acquisitions signal a transformation in the hospitality industry. He highlighted Liven’s focus on vertical acquisitions addressing core challenges faced by the sector, rather than horizontal mergers around specific features. This approach aims to combat technology fragmentation and rising costs, ultimately driving innovation in the hospitality space.

Liven has been discreet about its capital raising activities. Its most recent funding was obtained from VC Artesian 12 months ago in an undisclosed round. In 2020, Latvian entrepreneur Marat Kichikov, managing partner at BitFury Capital, also invested an undisclosed sum in the company. Additionally, Liven ventured into the crypto space in 2019 by conducting an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise $74 million. The ICO was later rebranded as a private token sale, ultimately securing $14 million in funding a year later.

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