MealPal’s Australian Focus Shift Could Spell Wider Change; Dott Fundraises as Scooters Power Ahead

MealPal's Australian Focus Shift

DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: MealPal’s Australian focus shift could spell wider change; Dott fundraises as scooters power ahead; Habito’s new platform. 

MealPal’s Australian focus shift could spell wider change

US startup MealPal has scrapped its subscription service model in Australia, switching instead to a membership marketplace model, which it says will offer consumers more choice of dining options, while opening up the platform to higher-end eateries.

Previously, the startup has offered a 12-meal lunch plan for AUS$7.99 (£4.50) per meal. However, speaking to StartupSmart, founder Mary Biggins says the new model will allow for varying prices, with some meals available for AUS$6.99 (£4) and others going for higher price points of up to AUS$10.99 (£6).

There will still be a ‘membership’ aspect to the model, however, with consumers paying a monthly fee to access the platform, something Biggins likens to an Amazon Prime or Costco membership. The change has meant MealPlan has been able to onboard more than 100 new restaurants. 

It’s an interesting move from the business, with Australia often seen as a testing ground for businesses, before a larger roll out across core markets. With the success that Meal Pal have seen in Australia, it is likely that the US and the UK could see this new version of the business before long. 

Dott fundraises as scooters power ahead

European Scooter business Dott has raised USD$34m (£27m), having only been founded in 2018. This is the company’s second funding round after it raised USD$23m (£18m) in December 2018. 

Compared to many scooter companies out there, such as Lime and Bird, the startup is taking a careful approach when it comes to growth in order to build a good reputation and a sustainable service. 

Scooter startups have a reputation for aggressively expanding in cities, by buying a large number scooters and putting them on the streets without necessarily having a long-term plan.

Dott has made many promises, ticking all the right boxes to go against this “move fast, break things” motto. The company works with local governments to get approval. It then rolls out a reasonable fleet of scooters. Dott is currently live in Brussels, Paris, Lyon and Milan. The company has around 1,000 to 2,500 scooters per city.

Now, Dott plans to release a second generation of scooter with swappable batteries, which should make fleet management much easier.

Habito’s new platform

Habito, which currently allows customers to search for loans from other providers, has now revamped its platform to offer its own range of mortgages.

The move, which comes after Habito gained permission to lend from the Financial Conduct Authority, will be funded by an initial £500m investment from an unnamed global financial institution.

“For the past three years, we’ve invested heavily in our best-in-class brokerage to dramatically improve the process of finding and applying for a mortgage, but behind the scenes we have also rolled up our sleeves to tackle mortgages themselves,” said Daniel Hegarty, Habito founder and chief executive. Habito said it aims to cut the timeframe from mortgage application to offer in half by integrating the conveyancing process with its platform.

The new platform will initially launch with buy-to-let mortgages, with company buy-to-let and portfolio landlord mortgages in the pipeline for later this year.

Habito said it is also working with financial institutions to launch a range of residential mortgages to the market.