Drink ordering start-up eBev raises $1.5 million from Sydney Angels
Sydney-based beverage inventory management start-up eBev has raised $1.5 million in its first seed round, led by Sydney Angels, to help the platform expand interstate and build out its product offering.
The business, co-founded in 2015 by wholesale wine industry professional Cassandra McDonald and Dan Stinton, who is now the head of digital at Seven West Media, connects hospitality beverage buyers with all the suppliers in their market.
Members are able to buy, sell, compare, shortlist, order, transact, manage inventory and analyse performance of drinks on the platform.
Ms McDonald said the ultimate goal for eBev is to become the primary business-to-business platform in the hospitality industry.
“Venues don’t have a lot of time… and on the supplier side it’s quite a competitive landscape, so we saw this as an opportunity to create a win-win for everyone,” she said.
“Often venues will want to make their orders late at night from the wine cellar and this gives them a tool to do that. Previously they’d have had to collate all their orders and have to wait until Monday morning and then ring 10 or 20 suppliers individually. We streamline that and let them do it efficiently.”
At the moment the platform is only for wine, with 20,000 of a total of 25,000 varieties in Australia featured on eBev. It has signed up 700 venues in Sydney including The Bathers’ Pavilion, The Tilbury Hotel and Rag and Famish.
Sydney Angels investor and syndicate lead Adrian Bunter will join the eBev board.
Large potential market
“The wholesale beverage industry offers huge potential to investors and is currently largely untapped by innovation. It was great to see eBev already on the front foot in tackling the problems long-suffered by venues in the ordering and management of stock,” said Mr Bunter.
“The fact that eBev has already signed on hundreds of Sydney’s licensed venues with solid transactions in motion is testament to its need in the market.”
The wholesale beverage market is estimated to be worth $5 billion, according to IBISWorld, with an annual growth rate of 0.8 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
The capital injection will help eBev expand to Melbourne and other states and also add drink types such as beer, spirits and cider to the platform.
“We also want to broaden our service offering. We want to add other beverage types, as well as building customer relationship management tools and possibly a payments tool,” Ms McDonald said.
A chance to drive efficiencies
“We have a classic freemium software-as-a-service model. We have free services that are already in the market and we’ll add premium services in time that we believe members will be happy to pay for. From a buyers’ perspective there will be performance management and industry benchmarking tools as well as the CRM tool.”
The $1.5 million in funding will last the business for the next 12 to 18 months, at which time it will look to raise more capital.
In the next year the start-up is aiming to have 8000 venues signed up to the platform, which is 22 per cent of the total licensed venues in the market.
“It’s a highly fragmented market with some big inefficiencies… that’s why the chance is there for a tech solution and it’s nice to be on the forefront of driving those efficiencies.”