Toast Cooks Up $115M Round, Claims “Unicorn” Status

Xconomy Boston — 

Restaurant technology startup Toast has pulled in $115 million in a Series D venture funding round that the company says gives it a valuation of $1.4 billion.

That makes it Boston’s newest “unicorn”—a privately held company valued at more than $1 billion by its investors. Of course, that’s just what the company claims it’s worth on paper. We’ll see whether the valuation holds if Toast eventually gets acquired or goes public.

Until then, it’s up to Toast to live up to the hype. The company says it plans to invest the new equity funding in research and development, hiring, and expanding its global operations. Toast says it will grow from about 1,000 employees to more than 1,600 people worldwide by the end of next year.

The Series D investment was led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates. Tiger Global Management, a new investor in Toast, also contributed to the round, along with previous Toast backers, according to a press release e-mailed to Xconomy. Toast says it has raised more than $200 million in venture capital to date. Its previous investors include Generation Investment Management, Lead Edge Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Endeca founder and former CEO Steve Papa.

Toast’s Series D round is among the year’s biggest startup investments in the Boston area. Others include American Well’s $290 million-plus round, $150 million for Fuze, and $110 million for Circle.

Toast sells cloud-based software that can handle a range of tasks for eateries, including executing payments in the restaurant, handling online orders, managing customer rewards programs, and tracking things such as sales, customer ordering data, food inventory, and hours worked by staff. The company says tens of thousands of restaurants use its products, including the Jamba Juice and B.GOOD chains.

Earlier this year, Toast rolled out a handheld payments device, its first hardware product designed in-house. The new product puts the company in competition with tablet makers like Samsung and Apple, and intensifies its rivalry with other payments technology companies, such as Square.

Toast was founded in 2011 by Steve Fredette, Aman Narang, and Jonathan Grimm, three veterans of Endeca, the enterprise software company sold to Oracle for $1.1 billion. Toast’s CEO is Christopher Comparato, another Endeca alum. (The four Toast executives are pictured above.)

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