Restorando Eyes Mobile Market, Brazil with US$13.3 Million Series B Investment

Restaurant reservations startup Restorando has announced a US$13.3 million Series B funding round – a huge piece of news for Latin America’s entrepreneurial community.

Flybridge Capital Partners led the round, joined by previous investors Emergence Capital Partners, Kaszek Ventures, Atómico and Storm Ventures. This marks a big step up from Restorando’s Series A round, through which it raised US$3.2 million in February of last year.

Founded by up-and-comers Frank Martin and Franco Silvetti alongside entrepreneurial vets Andy Freire and Santiago Bilinkis, Restorando has had the cards stacked in its favor from the start.

It initiated operations at the start of 2011 with a US$500,000 investment from Atómico and a handful of angel investors, following that up with the aforementioned Series A round a year later, right around the time it acquired CenaPlus. And in December of last year, Silvetti and Martin were selected in Miami to join the ranks of Endeavor.

To date, Restorando is available in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia and has registered over 2,400 restaurants. One of its biggest – and most challenging markets – is Brazil, where it currently has a presence in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Curitiba and Porto Alegre.

Just last week, PulsoSocial’s Clarisa Herrera sat down with Restorando CEO Frank Martin to catch up with what’s happening with what’s shaping up to be one of Latin America’s biggest startup successes. During their conversation, Martin brought up the challenges faced by the company in Brazil, noting, Brazil is a constant surprise.” He explained:

At first, it was really difficult, above all because we went into Brazil at a moment of an enormous atmosphere of prosperity for the country, huge, when everyone was trying to do new things. Going in, we had only a half a million dollars to build the business in Argentina and Brazil and a ton of challenges ahead – putting together a team, commercializing, technology. It took a lot of work to arrange a mini structure and get the right people for what we needed. If you’ve got heavyweight investors in Argentina at the start, it’s easier to operate in the country. But being in Brazil and having a smaller network was hard.

Martin also revealed that mobile has proven a strong point for the company – much to its founders’ surprise. In fact, mobile represents 35% of its business. “Going out to eat in itself is a social and mobile experience. We realized through testing that mobile implies a nearly 100% increase in our businesses, in an incremental manner,” Martin noted.

Moving forward, getting ready for the World Cup in Brazil and fleshing out its mobile strategy will be the main points of focus for Restorando – two tasks that will be facilitated by this latest 13-million-dollar funding round.

“With thousands of restaurants and more than two million diners now using the platform, Restorando has quickly established itself as the dominant player in the market,” affirmed John Karlen of Flybridge, who will join Restorando’s board of directors.

Restorando has raised US$17 million in investments to date.