We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Andrew Reid”, CEO at the Los Angeles – USA based startup “Tipsy”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Tipsy is an on demand alcohol delivery app. You can browse through our extensive menu of spirits, beer, and wine and have your order delivered to you in 20-40 minutes.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
We started working on the idea back in May 2014 and officially launched to the public January 15, 2015. We are currently bootstrapping the entire venture.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
We charge a $5.00 flat delivery fee to the customer, regardless of how much is ordered. We also charge a small fee to the local liquor stores we work with.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
The company is made up of:
Andrew Reid (myself) – CEO
Yasha Vand – CFO
Chris Lopez – Co-founder
George Bland – CTO
Myself, Yasha, and Chris have been friends since high school (over 10 years). The fourth member, George, came on board officially 3 months after launching to the public. However, he was our developer from the get go.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
We do our own deliveries and offer customer service which is unparalleled. We personally speak to every customer and offer an amazing experience every time.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We have doubled our downloads every month in the last two months (we’re only 4 months old) and are currently serving Los Angeles, Hollywood, the South Bay, and all of the surrounding cities.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our main competitors are Drizly, Minibar, and Saucey. Their advantage is funding. But, they are growing way to quickly and can’t offer the type of personalized experience we can. We love talking to people!
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Having liquor stores believe in the concept was a challenge. Most stores are ran by very traditional owners who don’t understand technology. They are comfortable with how they are doing things and were reluctant to change. We just kept knocking on doors – eventually one opened.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
People don’t understand that we don’t sell alcohol. We are simply the middle man who delivers the alcohol. All of the profit from the liquor goes directly to the liquor store and we simply collect the delivery fee.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
I don’t care about our competitors or their funding. Money doesn’t make a company successful -understanding the customer does. Knowing that failure doesn’t define us, but rather how we rise does. I was making $500 a day and quit that job, took a tremendous paycut, and am hustling day in and day out to make this work. No one can out work our team.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We are looking to expand to various cities across the country. We are also looking to leverage all of our customer data and partner with various liquor brands to make their advertising that much more targeted.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
This came from a need we had. Exactly one year back, we were drinking, having a good time, and ran out of alcohol. We wanted to continue drinking, but knew we shouldn’t drive and there was no service available for us to use. How many people run the risk of a DUI to go to the liquor store? Way too many in our opinion, so we decided to solve this problem.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
I’ve learned that you’re never ready. Planning doesn’t matter. Once you start, EVERYTHING changes. Learning to adapt is what truly matters. This is a lesson that can’t be taught – it can only be learned by doing.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Scaling our company is going to be difficult. Not in the sense of partnerships or infrastructure. But, it will be difficult to maintain our customer service and adequately managing the employees needed to go forward. That may be our biggest “problem”, but I know we’ll figure it out.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
There is no reason for someone to ever drink and drive again. Why risk a DUI or endanger the lives of others? It’s simply not worth it. We also know that people have busy lives, so there is the convenience of having us bring their wine while they cook dinner. Maybe you’re having barbecue and ran out of beer? We’ll take care of that need for you as well.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Our growth is purely word of mouth. We have not spent any money for paid advertisement. They have found us by searching the app store, friends, or social media.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
The people who have ordered most come in two peaks: the college student who wants their beer and the early 30’s man/woman who wants to enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
As we stated previously, all our customers find us through search, word of mouth, and social media. A lot of people try us out because they have never heard of a service like ours. There is no need to drive to the liquor store or go to the market if all you want is a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer. We take away all of the hassle.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
They love it! We’re fast and keep in constant communication with everyone via text message. They know exactly how long it will take and personally strive to make their experience as amazing as we can.
20. How are you going to scale?
Because we don’t own stores or product, scaling will be rather simple. We are essentially selling the technology. The trick is going to be to scale without losing the customer service.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
There hasn’t been anything in particular. Keep in mind we have only been live 4 months. But, our service as a whole is fairly new. So, anything we bring is already a step up from what they were doing before (driving to the store).
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
We are not planning to go internationally as of now. Things might change in the future, but I’ve learned that planning that far ahead is futile. Things change. Times change. The important thing is to focus on what we are doing now.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We know we can scale this nation wide. We have no doubt in our minds. How are we going to do this? Easy. Outwork the competition. We are going to do things that DON’T scale. I really believe in the power of scaling things that shouldn’t be scaled.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We aren’t looking to hire at the moment. We are keeping this all very tight knit. I love being involved in everything. This will definitely change as we grow, but for now I feel it is vital that we are all apart of the growth in every way possible.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are definitely looking for Venture Capital. In order to scale the way we want to, funding will be needed. Anyone interested in learning more about myself, the team, and the company can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Stop thinking and start doing! Don’t dwell on how you are going to accomplish something. Just dive in and figure it out a long the way. I truly feel business plans are crap. Things change so rapidly now a days that it just makes more sense to learn as you go. So, take action!
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
I just want to thank you for taking the time to interview myself and our company. If there are any entrepreneurs out there with questions I’d be more than happy to chat with them. Also, if there is anyway I can help any of the readers please feel free to email me and I’ll do anything I can. Life is all about helping one another – not about bringing others down.