By Richard Gill, CFA
Food technology company BigDish (DISH) has signed a Letter of Intent with a Central European investment group which provides for a $5 million investment, subject to key certain conditions. While the potential investor has not been named it is said to have diverse multinational investment holdings and is owned by an Ultra High Net Worth Individual.
The key conditions of the investment are:
– Completion of a technology audit once the company’s new SaaS platform has been fully built (target date end of Q1 2021). This is the key precedent, with BigDish having previously undertaken a technology audit of its systems architecture, saying is confident on the outcome of a further audit.
– Restaurant acceptance of the new BigDish-to-GO offering, with “acceptance” not being based on specific numbers but generically broad based acceptance by restaurants.
– Completion and acceptance of an international market expansion plan that supports a $5 million investment over an 18 month period.
If the conditions are met the two parties will look to upgrade the letter of intent to a Definitive Agreement by the end of the second quarter of 2021. The investment will not be in BigDish shares but made into a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), 80% owned by BigDish, to support international expansion. Thus, the deal will not be dilutive to shareholders.
In addition, in order to ensure the successful build out of the recently announced SaaS platform BigDish has secured a short term loan from an investment company of £540,000. The funds are to be partially used to increase the size of the technology team in order to facilitate the build out of the platform. BigDish believes that this funding will ensure it has sufficient runway until the end of the second quarter of 2021 and to ensure the conditions of the new investment are completed. Loan repayments are due in the second and third quarters of 2021 but the company may also convert this funding to equity at its election.
BigDish has also announced results for the year to March 2020, with the numbers not the key aspect here as the company currently focusses on technology development. For the record, revenues for the year amounted to £31,955, with a pre-tax loss of £1.46 million. Following the period end the company saw its restaurant customers bear the worst of the pandemic lockdown restrictions, prompting it to revise its business model in July – as discussed in our last update. Regardless, restaurant numbers on the platform continued to grow, rising from c.650 restaurant partners in the UK at the onset of COVID-19 to over 2,000 at the time of the results.
Also, in the results, BigDish set out some Key Performance Indicators for the 12 months ahead, including; building the technology platform to the point where revenues can be generated in the UK from 2021; determining the pricing of the SaaS model by the end of the year and; targeting at least 1,000 paying restaurant partners.
The company has also announced that BigDish-to-GO’s beta testing has been completed. It will now progress to the live App and restaurants will be added progressively. BigDish-to-GO has also incorporated payment functionality and the company expects to make further announcements next week on various developments.
The funding announcement is an exciting development for BigDish, with the potential $5 million investment providing the funds to roll out its offerings into international markets. It is also highly encouraging that the company has been able to arrange a potentially innovative financing agreement, with there being no dilution to existing shareholders. The directors have been true to their word – as we pointed out in our last update, “the directors are optimistic that (further funding) can be achieved without the need for an equity placing.”
Amongst the current market uncertainty, shares in BigDish have slipped from 2.45p at the time of our last update to a current 1.6p. They remain above the low of 0.725p seen in the depths of the March stock market slump but are well off the 12 month high of 4.6p seen in February. While the company remains a high risk early stage technology venture, we see excellent growth potential as the new technology platform seeks to serve a client base who will have to embrace off-premise dining as an essential part of their business.
Our valuation of the shares, which we believe remains valid following the strategy change, is based on the $70 million price tag that Asia focused peer Eatigo commanded upon its Series B valuation. Discounting this figure by 50%, to be conservative and take into account valuation uncertainties, gives a valuation for BigDish of £27.71 million, or 7.94p per share.
However, as we await more details on the pricing model of the SaaS offering, along with restaurant take up numbers and the outcome of the potential financing, we retain our stance of Speculative Buy.
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