From ‘drinfotainment’ to 10-minute alcohol delivery: Cheers to Booozie

Founded in August 2020 by Vivekanand Balijepalli, Booozie’s app promises doorstep delivery of alcohol in 10 minutes. The AI-powered startup is currently operational in Kolkata and plans to soon say salud to Delhi and Odisha.
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Hyderabad-based delivery aggregator Booozie is joining Swiggy, Zomato, Blinkit, and Zepto in the 10-minute delivery race, with one difference: it home-delivers only alcohol. 

The startup, founded by Vivekanand Balijepalli as the flagship brand of Innovent Technologies Private Limited, started its ecommerce vertical in Kolkata on June 1, 2022. 

The Booozie platform, which has 20,000 users, has a wide catalogue with more than 2,000 labels. The startup claims to have executed 1,000-plus orders in the last 15 days.  

The journey so far

Booozie was founded in August 2020 and launched the social drinking and entertainment platform in November 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19-led lockdown. 

Vivekanand, a pilot by qualification, started the age-gated, Facebook-like community for “drinfotainment” purposes. The platform lets users share their experiences, post recipes, connect with bartenders etc, which they would otherwise hesitate to do on a social platform.

“The pain point was the taboo associated with consumption of liquor in society. I believe it is totally acceptable and possible for people to consume liquor responsibly,” the founder says. 

The Android app soon notched over 15,000 downloads while the iOS version has close to 3,500 users. 

A few months into the lockdown, Vivekanand realised that sourcing liquor had become a problem amid the lockdown. He decided to resolve this by adding an ecommerce vertical that offers doorstep delivery of alcohol. 

     

The bootstrapped startup applied for a Kolkata licence in December 2021 and started delivery operations in June 2022. 

The government looks at the company’s credentials and capabilities in executing deliveries as per excise guidelines, Vivekanand says. The social network—and word of mouth—helped Booozie reach a wider audience. 

“Booozie lets people connect on topics related to liquor and is an ecommerce platform for delivery. It's the Facebook and Amazon of liquor,” he says. 

An in-house logistics management platform, Gokea, was launched in April 2021 to support hyperlocal and 3 PL deliveries. It can be integrated with any platform to manage last-mile deliveries. Booozie also uses Gokea for deliveries.

Booozie delivery executives

The 10-minute delivery window

The 10-minute delivery model has come under fire recently, but Vivekanand says that Booozie has processes in place to avoid undue stress on delivery partners. 

“The AI uses user data to predict the most likely orders and keep those ready, including billing and everything. Delivery partners are always stationed outside liquor stores and they have a store manager in each store to help with operations,” he says. 

“The combination of these elements allows Booozie to have an order out for delivery in under a minute, which makes a 10-minute delivery window very likely. But, we ensure that we don’t put any pressure on our riders.”

The startup also makes sure that consumers are of legal drinking age. 

“We have integrated an identity verification software, Hyperverge, which checks the Aadhaar card of the customer and does a face match. The order is then delivered only to the same person,” Vivekanand says.

Early traction and business model 

Booozie claims to be fulfilling 400-500 orders every day. It has tied up with 18 liquor stores in Kolkata and signed on 45 delivery partners. 

The revenue stream includes delivery charges from customers. The founder refused to divulge details. 

“We charge GST on the delivery charge, as per the law. There are no hidden costs,” he says.

The startup earns between 2-5 percent commissions from stores on sales. It also charges liquor brands a fee for in-app priority listing.

“Our average order value is Rs 700,” Vivekanand says. However, he did not disclose revenue details.

Funding and the way ahead

India is one of the fastest-growing alcoholic beverages markets globally, with estimated market size of $52.5 billion in 2020. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8 percent between 2020 and 2023, according to the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

According to Vivekanand, beer and whisky are top sellers in Kolkata. Booozie is actively engaging with manufacturers like Diageo and Bacardi to assess gaps in the supply chain. 

The startup recently concluded a friends and family round of funding, post the launch of the ecommerce vertical. 

Cocktail recipe shared on the Booozie app

It plans to expand pan-India, subject to approvals from state governments. 

“Booozie’s ecommerce vertical is soon going to launch operations in Delhi, once the Delhi Government issues the notification for the issue of L-13 licences. We are also expecting our licence in Odisha by the third week of June,” Vivekanand says. 

Booozie is also in the process of launching its own brand of non-alcoholic beverages and mixers to complement its core business.

Other players in this segment are Swiggy, Spencer’s, Zomato, and BigBasket.

“However, Booozie stands out because of the social engagement factor. Our domain expertise is the differentiating factor in this,” Vivekanand says.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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