South Florida tech companies team up to propel growth

Sometimes startups should team up to take off.

SpeedETab, a Fort Lauderdale startup that enables customers to order and pay for food and drinks from their smartphones, and Paymentez, a Miami-based payments platform for goods and services in Latin America, did just that.

On Thursday, Paymentez announced that it has acquired a majority stake in SpeedETab. The partnership marks Paymentez’s entry into the U.S. market. SpeedETab’s co-founders, Adam Garfield and Ed Gilmore, will continue to run SpeedETab and its current team of 11.

Under terms, of the investment, SpeedETab will implement Paymentez’s technology to expand the SpeedETab app. Garfield said SpeedETab will also have access to Paymentez’s top tech team of about 25 to 30 engineers. Financial details were not disclosed. 

Juan Franco, CEO of Paymentez, said that together they will offer “a superior mobile commerce experience.”

“Our strategy for the USA is 100 percent aligned with SpeedETab’s. The U.S. has always been interesting to us – my co-founder and I live in Miami – and especially when it comes to mobile ordering, there is a market readiness here that surpasses that of Latin America. The space is moving so fast, we felt we would be much more successful building upon what SpeedETab has already done and incorporating our technical capacity, [point-of-sale] integrations and lessons learned in Latin America,” said Franco, who has been watching SpeedETab’s growth for more than a year.

SpeedETab, which launched in mid-2015, provides an app-based mobile ordering, mobile payments and analytics platform for the food service industry. The fast-growing startup powers mobile ordering and payments at more than 200 U.S. locations, including Panther Coffee, Zaro’s Bakery, Gregory’s Coffee, Toby’s Estate, and the Adrienne Arsht Center.

“It's never easy for a founder to part with a majority stake in their company, but Ed and I felt this was an opportunity for us to position ourselves as a major player in the mobile ordering and mobile payments market,” said Garfield, who will be showcasing SpeedETab at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago next week. “Juan and the Paymentez team bring to SpeedETab a tremendous amount of strategic value – from strong channel partnerships to essential point of sale integrations – and their addition to SpeedETab propels us forward exponentially.”

Founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneurs Franco and Jaime Roldan, Paymentez is a leading monetization platform for micro transactions in Latin America. Paymentez has about 50 employees across Latin America and five in Miami.

“We started Paymentez in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia and today have presence in seven countries in Latin America. .. Last year, in partnership with MasterCard, we launched a mobile ordering app that is now being used by the most relevant merchants in the region,” Franco said.

Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg