Waitr Acquires Software Company Cova in Pivot Toward Cannabis Delivery – IPO Edge
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Waitr Acquires Software Company Cova in Pivot Toward Cannabis Delivery
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Waitr Acquires Software Company Cova in Pivot Toward Cannabis Delivery


By Alan Hatfield

Waitr Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: WTRH) has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Retail Innovation Labs Inc., a leading point of sale, inventory and compliance software business serving cannabis dispensary retailers in North America.

Waitr’s acquisition of Retail Innovation Labs, which does business as Cova, represents the latest that the on-demand food ordering and delivery leader has made in the payments sector, bolstering the Waitr ordering technology platform with a software solution utilized by approximately 2,000 dispensaries in the U.S. and Canada. Waitr currently estimates the annualized gross merchandise value of cannabis transactions processed on the Cova platform at $2.3 billion based on recent performance.

“Combining our industry leading retail cannabis technology with Waitr’s on demand delivery logistics network and expertise in payments are a perfect match,” said Gary Cohen, CEO of Cova. “Waitr and Cova share the same values – we both put the retailer first and believe that nobody should get between them and their customers. This should further enable the dispensary retailers utilizing Cova software to grow and thrive.”

In addition to complementing Waitr’s recently-acquired Cape Payments POS solution, Waitr CEO and Chairman Carl Grimstad also sees the Cova acquisition as a means to offering cannabis retailers regulatory compliant payment solutions, and, as regulations evolve, the ability to offer delivery services as well.

“Additionally, we believe that we may be able to adapt the Cova POS solution for restaurants in order to offer our restaurant base an integrated solution for in-house and food delivery services,” said Mr. Grimstad.

Mr. Grimstad joined Lafayette, LA-based Waitr about two years ago and took decisive actions to stem losses and return the company to profitability. The company has grown organically and through acquisitions of strong regional operators such as Delray Beach, FL-based Delivery Dudes earlier in 2021.

A proposed purchase price of $90 million is set forth in the LOI, to be paid in a cash-stock combination subject to customary adjustments.

Waitr also shared that in accordance with a previous rebranding strategy, the company has acquired the “ASAP.com” domain name and has reserved the Nasdaq ticker “ASAP” in a nod to the company’s specialty in delivery technology and logistics.


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