John Robertson
John Robertson

Investment set to help business uncork alcohol delivery market

An Edinburgh business that has seen sales increase by 30% month-on-month since launching last November has secured investment to help it continue to grow.

Drinkly.co.uk will use the £30k from Seed Haus business accelerator to refine it’s offering in the capital city before expanding into an estimated 15 UK towns and cities by the end of 2018.

The technology platform that allows customers to order premium spirits, wines, and beers to be delivered to their door within one hour from a mobile device within licensing hours, has also created partnership deals with Asahi UK, Pickerings Gin, and Innis & Gunn which will help it hit an estimated £100k turnover next April.

Owner John Robertson, a former international sales executive and management team member with the likes of Innis & Gunn, Whyte & Mackay, and Kingfisher Beer, secured the funding after completing Business Gateway Edinburgh’s Gateway to Investment (GTI) programme.

The programme, which aims to provide business owners with the tools, information and confidence needed to secure a fair investment, runs three times a year providing investment ready businesses with access to business experts, Angel syndicates, and networking opportunities.

John said: “There has been a huge shift towards mobile commerce with Deliveroo and Uber leading the way and investors are starting to recognise the potential of businesses like mine. When I first came up with the idea I went to Business Gateway and my adviser helped me secure funding, access expert technical and Intellectual Property advice and secure a place on the GTI programme. The four day course helped me understand the language of investors, and it was through it that I meet another entrepreneur who connected me with Seed Haus. Without Business Gateway’s support I wouldn’t be investor ready nor would the business be in the position that it is now.

“Since launching our customers tend to be time poor professionals, people who are ordering a takeaway but want a premium drink to enjoy with it and those hosting parties. Once they buy from us they stick with us, with 40% of customers repeat buying at least once a month. Our gifting service has been more popular than first envisaged, especially with people who have forgotten birthdays or want a quick and convenient way to send a bottle to celebrate an engagement or job offer. This area is one we are going to investigate further with Seed Haus’ investment.”

John Hill, Adviser, Business Gateway, said: “John has developed a technology platform that facilitates the sale of carefully selected products to wine and beer aficionados in a convenient way. In Edinburgh, he has partnered with Vino Wines who sell the product and deliver it directly. With our help, John has been able to take his business to the next level by protecting his brand and using our connections to secure a number of grants from Scottish Enterprise. Because his business has the potential to expand quickly he has also benefitted from our GTI programme that ultimately helped him secure his first major investment.”

Having graduated with a mathematics degree, John choose a career in the drinks industry after securing a job with a wholesale distributor. This lead to sales positions within a number of global brands. With a desire to set up his own enterprise he launched a consultancy business in 2015, entered Entrepreneurial Spark’s hub in Edinburgh and secured a place on The Saltire Fellowship Programme.

He said: “The Saltire Fellowship opened my eyes to the public’s growing demand for businesses that add value and convenience to their lives. While on the course I came across an online liquor store that was successful across America and I saw an opportunity to create my own platform and bring a similar concept to our shores. The drinks industry is only now beginning to recognise the power of e-commerce and the fact people want a convenient way to buy desirable brands at a time of their choosing within licensing hours and Drinkly.co.uk allows them to do just that.”