Photographer Aneesh Bhasin has a taste for good wines. Because of this love for wines, he got together with his friend and techno-entrepreneur Shiladitya Mukhopadhyaya to build IndianWineList. The product evolved into the app Hipcask which helps people discover and learn more about wines, whiskies and beer. Based in Mumbai and a part of the TechSparks 2014 batch, Hipcask has also piloted on-demand delivery of alcohol.It has been a year since Hipcask presented at TechSparks (the sixth edition is scheduled for October 29, 30 and 31) and the product has been evolving well. The company has also raised funding from Bold and Mobikon. Aneesh says, “After the on-demand delivery pilot in Mumbai, we will launch the same in Bengaluru. Apart from on-demand delivery, we have built some engagement tools for alcohol brands and for the first time provide rich analytics in this domain.” The company has also ventured into the events space and is hosting a cocktail festival in the country this December.
The biggest thing on Hipcask’s radar now is Menyu- their new product which is in the food delivery space. Talking about the move, Aneesh says, “Our expertise was always in F&B and we decided to go after beverages. We have been watching the foodtech space and have seen so many players who've come in, even raised a lot of money and have no idea of how the food industry actually works.” The bet for Hipcask and Menyu is on content leading to commerce. “We did an article about the best burgers in the country and ideally, we should have a link to buy them as well,” says Aneesh.
Menyu works in a marketplace format that will give restaurants, home chefs and artisanal producers a platform to be discovered and also enable them to sell online. An approved partner on Menyu can add items on their own, make discount coupons etc., and have a direct link to sell within 30 minutes via Menyu’s third-party delivery integration. “On Menyu, you can order anything from sushi to kulchas to the best coffee in the country. By the end of the month, we should have over 200 products on the platform,” says Aneesh.
Both the products are likely to remain separate. Hipcask will focus on a few B2B products for the alcohol industry, analytics, events and relevant content. “Alcohol industry has been slow to adapt to new tech like ours and that's because they have never really seen any tech innovation. We are now starting to work with some of the bigger brands in the country enabling them to connect and engage with their customers,” he adds. And Menyu will focus on being a marketplace with food options and actionable food content.
Menyu ventures into a space filled with heavily funded companies like Zomato, Foodpanda, Swiggy, Tinyowl, Yumist and many more. Talking of their differentiator, Aneesh says, “Food is really exciting to us. Even though the foodtech industry has seen so many players, we have a product which is a solid business model from day one and cannot just be cloned or copied because of our content and network of tastemakers. We plan to launch Menyu soon for Bengaluru, Delhi and Singapore.”
An interesting player in the F&B space, Hipcask first presented at TechSparks. “TechSparks is an awesome platform and I am glad we were a part of it. YourStory events have always been good and we really appreciate the support you guys have given us and the startup community,” says Aneesh. Banking on their domain knowledge in the F&B space in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Singapore, Hipcask (with Menyu) aims to play a dominant role in the content commerce space.
Are you ready for this year’s startup carnival at TechSparks 2015? If you want to attend, get your ticket. If you want to pitch as a startup, apply here. More information about the event: http://techsparks.yourstory.com/2015/