Revel Systems, the San Francisco, CA-based provider of the iPad Point of Sale (POS) platform, has raised an impressive $100m Series C funding (read here)!!!
Lisa Falzone (photo), co-founder and CEO, accepted to answer our questions about the company, the product, and funding round.
FinSMEs: Hi Lisa. First, can you tell us a little bit more about you? What’s your background?
Lisa: I founded the company with Chris Ciabarra when I was 25 and I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship and problem solving, and the idea for Revel happened to be the one that stuck at the right time. Before Revel, I founded a couple companies but with Revel, the timing and the opportunity to revolutionize the point-of-sale was just right. Since Revel was founded, I have been recognized in two consecutive years on the Forbes ’30 Under 30’ list as well as San Francisco Business Times ’40 Under 40’ and ‘Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business, , SFGate’s 21 Most Powerful Women in Bay Area Tech, Paste Magazine’s 10 Most Powerful Women in Technology, Business Insider as one of The Most Important Women Under 30 In Tech, and in the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business.
This has been a very exciting journey so far. I knew that Revel had the most potential of any of my projects, and that with both Chris’ skill set and my own, we could really make an impact. The success that we have seen so quickly has been really rewarding. I’m excited to see how Revel continues to grow and become the standard for the POS industry.
FinSMEs: Let’s speak about Revel Systems. What’s the opportunity you found in the market?
Lisa: Chris Ciabarra, my co-founder and CTO of Revel, and I stumbled into point of sale. Originally, we designed an online ordering app for local restaurants, but as we began selling our app, we noticed that the restaurant industry faced a challenge with point of sale. The POS systems at restaurants we visited were bulky, old and expensive to maintain. Many of the systems hadn’t been updated in years, and had servers on the backend which required frequent and costly maintenance.
The more restaurant owners we spoke with, the more we learned that they are not typically the tech-oriented, so we saw an opportunity to provide a simple, efficient and reliable system. Also, given the iPad had just been released, the timing was perfect to launch a new POS system. We were the first to develop: a way to connect a card swipe to the data port, print directly from iPad to a receipt printer before Apple could.
FinSMEs: How does Revel Systems work? Tell me something about the features…
Lisa: Revel’s software provides up to the minute reporting so you can track the sales at your restaurant from any Internet browser in real-time. There is no back-of-the-house server or separate computer needed. We provide one software platform in which your online store, iPhone app, and mobile website are all integrated in the POS. In addition, Revel will offer paperless receipts as well as printed receipts and if customers forget their wallet, they can pay via Apple Pay or PayPal.
Revel allows customers to tailor our point of sale solution to their particular business to better fit their needs. Some of these features include, inventory management, social media integration, payment encryption, Wi-Fi management, delivery management, intelligent reporting and much more.
FinSMEs: Can you introduce the other team members?
Lisa: Chris Ciabarra is the CTO and co-founder of Revel Systems. Chris is responsible for developing the technology behind Revel’s iPad POS and continues to lead the technological advancements and well as security of the system. Chris is also an anti-hacker expert and has a strong background in PCI compliance, which helps to make Revel Systems the most secure iPad POS on the market. Chris has also previously worked with Interecptor.net, Scan-on-the-Go Secure, Adrenaline cell phone app, Nano-stealth and even Homeland Security. He and I make a great team and have had a lot of fun building this company together.
FinSMEs: Where are you now in terms of growth? Some numbers?
Lisa: We currently have just under 200 employees and plan to increase this number five times over the next 12 to 18 months, thanks to this funding. Revel Systems is currently in more than 1,200 enterprise locations including Goodwill, Belkin, Griffin, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and more.
FinSMEs: You just raised funding. What can you tell me about the investors? How are you using the funds?
Lisa: This is our Series C round of funding, totaling to $100 million from Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS) and other strategic investors. We’ve received an initial $65 million from WCAS and an additional $25 million equity line available from WCAS and $10 million from additional strategic investors. Through this funding, we’ve also been fortunate to gain Sanjay Swani, a general partner at WCAS and Co-Head of the WCAS Information/Business Services industry practice, as a new board member.
As previously mentioned, we plan to increase our head count significantly over the next year and a half and increase our operations and support departments.
What we are truly looking forward to, is expanding our reach internationally. We know that Revel works and has the potential be used across the globe and this is proven by the momentum we’ve already gained in Australia.
Lisa: Our goal is to become the de facto standard for point of sale, we plan to continue adapting, supporting our customers and expanding internationally to make this happen.