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Serial entrepreneur gives tech twist to a drink ‘on-the-house’ with FOOM

Sindhu Kashyaap
25th Oct 2017
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Bengaluru-based FOOM—First One On Me—allows customers to have the first drink at a bar of their choice free of cost.

Aristotle rightly said, "Man is a social animal." And for this social being, the setting plays a vital role, be it for personal or business interactions.

Lokesh Bevara, Founder of four startups - myprepaidtaxi, 360Cabs, 360ride, and Sendthrume - often found himself at restaurants and pubs, be it to catch up with friends, or for business meetings.

Lokesh Bevara
“Each time what remained a common ritual was having a drink or two. The recent socialising trends also got an upgrade where people ‘catch up for beer’ more often. It made me think that how much people spend in just drinking,” says Lokesh.

Talking to people, Lokesh realised the numbers were significant, which resulted in his fifth startup FOOM for First One On Me.

The fifth wonder

FOOM is a subscription-based platform that allows a customer to get free drinks at registered bars and pubs. Lokesh and his team have tied up with a number of pubs and restaurants where FOOM users can avail free drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

“Right now, our application provides two types of models - one is free and the other one is subscription based,” says Lokesh.

Once a customer registers on the application, they can get one free drink every day for a week, for a minimum bill amount is Rs 500. As a part of monthly subscription plan one can get unlimited beer four times in a month for Rs 999 person and as a part of weekly subscription plan one can get unlimited beer any day in a week for Rs 499 per person.

Started in Bengaluru earlier this year, the FOOM app is available on Android and iOS devices and has seen over 8000 downloads, with 2000+ customers subscribed on the platform. The platform is available only in Bengaluru at present.

Raise a toast

The concept of affordable drinks is fast catching up. Some other startups in this space include HipBar, The Bar Stock Exchange and Hipcask.

However, one of the biggest challenges for these startups is the marketing. With direct advertising of spirits illegal in the country, the Indian liquor industry has leveraged surrogate advertising on digital channels. Also, the HipBar payments wallet is an RBI-certified app.

Similar yet different

Lokesh pegs HOOCH as FOOM’s competition. Explaining the difference, he says FOOM has no restriction on the kind of drinks one can order.

The FOOM team

The options with FOOM range from beers, cocktails, whiskey, and rum to mocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages.

“The revenue model of our startup is simple; we earn through commission from the respective merchants. FOOM helps to increase the footfalls in listed outlets that benefit their business and make them popular and they pay us a commission for it,” explains Lokesh.

Funding and future

Tying up with merchant establishments wasn't a challenge, as Lokesh had experience with partner management and onboarding at his previous startups. He raised seed funding of $30,000 and later raised investment of $48,000 from an undisclosed Delhi-based investor.

On how it works for a customer, Lokesh says after downloading the app, one needs to choose from the selected outlets on the app. Order a drink from FOOM’s specific menu, and have the first drink free.

“Currently we are focusing at polishing the performance of our application and launching FOOM in Tier-1 cities across India by 2019. We are also targeting the overseas market by 2020,” says Lokesh.

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