OpenTable Australia has yet to start approaching restauants as fair as we know, but we have known for a while that OpenTable has been planning on opening up in Australia, and we have also seen that Lisa Hasen, the former BDM at Dimmi has been appointed to as the VP for APAC at OpenTable. Our latest blog article about the Dimmi numbers asked the question about where Dimmi has spent over $10,000,000 in VC raised funds from Telstra and Village Roadshow and other investors.
There is no real indication about why Dimmi has failed to grow the number of customers using there system, apart from the growing popularity of Free Online Restaurant Bookings Systems, and I believe that they have morphed from a high growth Online Bookings company into a reseller of the excellent Restaurant Diary system out of the UK.
Is OpenTable Australia looking to buy Dimmi?
OpenTable Australia would be a more formidable competitor than Restalo, so would purchasing Dimmi make sense? It depends on the cash flow position of Dimmi and how much money Dimmi is asking vs how long it would take OpenTable to gain traction in Australia. The per seat charges in the United States are higher than the $1 that Dimmi charges for seats booked in Australia. The big question is what is the Dimmi cash flow is like at the moment. They have just had to raise again despite large job losses to try to stem the large cash burn rate that was unsustainable. Restaurant Diary makes for a lot stickier customer and does create some great value for Dimmi’s Australian customers.
OpenTable Australia may find it easier to buy out Dimmi. Telstra could potentially be looking for an exit and a trade sale with a confidential sale price would be a face saving exit for the Telco. Village Roadshow is harder to read with it’s further ambitions in the hospitality space shown with the purchase of the Edge Loyalty cards business.
OpenTable was purchased in June 2014 for $2.6 Billion in cash, so they certainly would have the money to be able to purchase Dimmi. It also provides them access to the Restaurant Diary customers in Australia, although I expect that it would be quite difficult to win a Restaurant over from Restaurant Diary to OpenTable, given the ease of use and the different charging model.
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