On his Facebook timeline, you’d see him check in at bars, more than 2-3 times a day. One might mistake Anand Janardhanan for a chronic alcoholic, if previously uninformed of his latest obsession: A startup.
His company, Vgulp, is a deal & loyalty portal for tipplers. The idea is to not only offer deals to customers but also be able to manage loyalty at liquor outlets and watering holes in town.
The opportunity is big. Among metros, Bangalore has one of the highest number of liquor outlets, bars and pubs. There are nearly 7500 wine shops and watering holes in Karnataka. Out of this, about a third are in Bangalore! While per capita liquor consumption in Karnataka isn’t all that high, Bangalore is one among the metros that drinks the most alcohol.
Few weeks ago at a beer joint in HSR Layout, Bangalore, Anand laid out the plan for me: “I’m all in. Quit my job, sold property, teamed up with a great co-founder. Now its all about cracking great deals and getting customers to claim them,” he said.
Now comes the startup version of the man walks into a bar story: Anand has a standard operating procedure. Go into a bar, order a drink maybe and ask to see the owner. In most cases, he gets past the managers and strikes a deal. Major liquor outlets like Madhuloka and Drops offer a discount on the retail price for Vgulp users. He has cracked deals at Barleyz, Via Milano and other joints around town.
The website is in closed beta and already has dozens of deals & listings in Bangalore. One can log in to take a look at deals and listings nearby and choose a deals. To unlock a deal, you’d have to like Vgulp on Facebook. The deal is sent to your e-mail if you claim one.
Ajeesh Udumbath, the other co-founder of Vgulp was the head of technology at People10, an Agile Development Company in Bangalore where Anand was the head of marketing.
Most owners who run liquor joints have been surprisingly positive, says Anand. The opportunity to up-sell food and starters helps them improve margins. Once it reaches critical mass, Vgulp could drive footfalls as well. Many bars and pubs in Bangalore also have a loyal fan base. Vgulp wants to tap into this as well by creating new loyalists and managing existing patrons with its technology. A smartphone app is in the works.
Bacchanalian Bangaloreans don’t really need a reason to drink, but in case you are looking for one, it is here. Sign up for a private beta here.
Recommended Read: Dude, Where’s the Wine Shop? There’s an App for That [Brewit]