Accelerators / Acquisitions / Business

This $390-million Grubhub deal was good for Dreamit

Dreamit company LevelUp was acquired by Grubhub in a “spectacular outcome” for the Philly accelerator.

Part of LevelUp's 220 staffers, which will all join Grubhub upon the approval of the deal. (Courtesy photo)

Dreamit founder Steve Welch still remembers getting LevelUp’s application to the inaugural cohort of the DreamIt Ventures accelerator, way back in 2008 when the digital payments, ordering and loyalty company went by SCVNGR and focused on interactive mobile gaming.

“The application came in at 11:59 p.m. on the day it was due,” Welch told “They came in the program when Seth [Priebatsch, CEO and cofounder] was just 17. He was an exceptional individual from the start.”

Fast forward to July 2018, and the Dreamit portfolio company, which relocated to Boston after the cohort, announced its acquisition by Chicago-based Grubhub for $390 million, in a move that Welch said was telling of the founding team’s strength.

“People always talk about overnight successes,” said Welch, who relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2013 and founded cryogenics startups Restore Cryotherapy. “But they came to Dreamit now 3,718 days ago.”

Welch declined to disclose specific financial terms from the deal citing financial regulations as Dreamit is currently raising a fund. The accelerator, until 2016, took 6 percent equity in companies in exchange for a $25,000 investment and access to its programming and mentoring.

“What I can say is that this was a spectacular outcome for all parties involved,” Welch sad.

Before the acquisition, LevelUp had raised $85 million in venture capital, including a $50 million round from JPMorgan Chase, according to CNBC.

“The news of GrubHub’s acquisition of LevelUp is a great proof point that Dreamit’s model is working,” said Dreamit Managing Partner Steve Barsh. “If you bet on a great team with great ideas and have patience, things can work out very well for everyone. While SCVNGR pivoted to LevelUp, it was always the same leadership team. Investors repeatedly say ‘you bet on the team’ and this is a great example of that.”

“I know that as part of Grubhub, LevelUp will be able to deliver on our promises in bigger and better ways than ever before,” said Priebatsch in a public letter to restaurants and partners. “We’re excited about this next step in the LevelUp story and hope you are too.”

Grubhub said the addition of LevelUp will allow it to offer national and independent restaurants “the industry’s most comprehensive solution to drive online delivery and pickup order, from demand generation through fulfillment.” LevelUp, along with its 220 employees, will remain in Boston.

Companies: DreamIt Ventures

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