Apps / Business development / Food and drink

Rooam is expanding its digital payment platform to Chicago and LA this winter

The D.C.–based startup acquired Chicago-based Tally ahead of its first expansion.

The Rooam app in action. (Courtesy photo)

D.C.–based Rooam, a mobile payment and networking app for the nightlife and hospitality industry, announced this week that the company is launching operations in Chicago and Los Angeles this winter, marking the company’s first expansion to new cities. With Chicago up first, Rooam acquired Tally, a competing, Chicago-based app that allows users to track their tabs, complete transactions and set default tips.

Similarly, Rooam allows users to pay for food and drinks directly through its mobile app, alleviating the need to wait on a bartender or server. Users can start and close a tab through the #dctech company’s app, which gives each user a unique Rooam number for their order.

Rooam launched its mobile app in D.C. in October 2016, DC previously reported, and has decided to expand to Chicago because the Windy City is a hub for nightlife, a press release states. Currently, Rooam is being used in more than 330 of the District’s bars and restaurant locations. With the adoption of Tally, the company will expand to major restaurants groups in Chicago including 8 Hospitality Group and Third Coast Hospitality Group.

“We raised an additional $2.1 million last year to add to our seed round, with one of the main goals being to expand to additional markets. We have strong market penetration here in D.C, so the timing was now right to expand into Chicago and LA. Tally was one of our main competitors, and they reached out to us earlier this year to see if we were interested in an acquisition. The timing was just right,” Rooam Cofounder and CEO Junaid Shams told

Shams said the company makes revenue by providing different value propositions to the restaurant groups, bars and venues it works with. In July 2017, the company completed that $2.1 million seed round to begin this global expansion and to integrate with cloud-based POS systems. Since its launch, Rooam has also added full Apple Pay integration. It’s also looked to increase security by requiring touch ID or a unique passcode to authorize all purchases, the press release states.

“Our friends at Rooam have done an incredible job of building an end-to-end solution that delivers tremendous value to both users and bars,” Kevin Bolger, CEO at Tally, said in a statement. “We’re very excited about Rooam launching their robust platform in Chicago this winter and can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for mobile payments in hospitality.”

Rooam has been focusing on doing installs in Chicago for the last two months and getting marketing ready ahead of a soft-launch with 15 locations in two weeks. That will be followed by a full launch a few weeks later with around 40 locations. Shams told that the company is looking to hire 5-10 people in the next three or four months to increase sales, marketing and development teams.

Rooam’s mobile app is available for free download on the App Store and Google Play.


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