French all-in-one performance solution for restaurants, Malou has closed €10 million in funding. The round was led by Bertrand Jelensperger (founder of The Fork), the SaaS B2B experts henQ that backed Dutch hotel tech startup Mews, Bleu Capital, Jim Texier (former CPO of Lightspeed), and several restaurant clients.
Malou plans to accelerate growth in its home market of France and enhance product functionality, double its workforce, including key hires across tech, engineering, sales, and marketing. It will expand to internal markets – London, Europe, the Middle East, and the US, focusing on New York City.
Diverse team of founders
Founded in 2021, Malou’s founders are from diverse backgrounds. Louiza Hacene is a Franco-Algerian HEC graduate. Her co-founders are Tunisian engineer and CentraleSupélec graduate Waad Toumi and Télécom Paris educated developer Victor Sage. They are focused on pivoting Malou from a restaurant digital marketing agency to the SaaS model tech platform that it is now.
AI-powered online tool for restaurants
Initially, Malou was dedicated to providing tailored digital marketing solutions designed for the restaurant sector. It includes integrating a restaurant’s Google Business page, social media profiles and restaurant listing and delivery platforms all into one centralised hub.
Later, it transformed to deploy AI and automation to analyse and generate responses to customer reviews intelligently, generate social media posts, and maintain consistent information across all owned channels. This will enhance a restaurant’s online presence, SEO, visibility social media engagement, and reputation and attractiveness.
In addition to this, Malou has emerged as an essential tool for restaurateurs when customers choose restaurants online. Its offering manages and improves the entire relationship between restaurants and their customers, from discovery and conversion to customer satisfaction monitoring and loyalty building.
Wide range of clientele
With over 2,000 restaurant customers across 12 countries, including independents, food chains, top chefs, and high-profile restaurant groups, Malou has demonstrated its universal appeal and effectiveness. Among its well-known clients are Bagatelle Group, Krispy Kreme and Jean-George Group’s Tin Building marketplace in New York City.
“Malou’s team has been able to translate their deep understanding of marketing for restaurants into a ‘hyper-verticalised’ solution which optimises all aspects of a restaurant’s online presence automatically,” said Mick Mackaay, partner at lead investor henQ. “This leads to more visitors without forcing owners to become marketing experts. The team has further impressed us with their ability to get this solution into the hands of many restaurants; a notoriously hard target group to sell to.”
“The restaurant industry is one where success so heavily relies on building and maintaining your reputation, especially through your online presence,” said Louiza Hacene, co-founder and CEO of Malou. “Malou is dedicated to providing the tools to help restaurants connect with potential customers and maintain their relationships with their existing customers. This new funding will allow us to further improve our product, expand our team, and increase our market reach – especially in the UK and the U.S.”