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Hyd startup develops 'world's first social drinking platform'

Hyd startup develops 'world's first social drinking platform'

A Hyderabad-based startup has launched what it claims to be the world's first social drinking platform, which will also deliver liquor to people at their doorsteps.

The developers of Booozie, the web and app-based platform, claim it will promote responsible drinking. It features a database of bars/clubs in every city, offers and events at various bars/clubs, an exhaustive catalogue which lists the brands and current MRP of brands available in every state of India and free online delivery of liquor at doorsteps.

"Booozie will be a delivery aggregator by picking up liquor from the nearest shop, with upfront payment to stores without any commission from stores and will provide free delivery," Vivekanand Balijepalli, Co-Founder and CFO of Booozie, told IANS.

Booozie, the flagship brand of Innovent Technologies Private Ltd, is now planning to commence online delivery of liquor in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha over the next two months under the first phase.

"In the post-Covid era, there is a huge demand for online delivery of liquor. We welcome the change in policy adopted by various states to permit this. Over the next 6 months, we intend to start operations in 10 states in India and hope to cover at least 20 states over the next 12 months subject to approval from state governments," he said.

The company has already submitted proposals to seven states including Karnataka and Telangana and is waiting for the permission from the state governments.

The start-up said at a time when the pandemic has added to the problem of unemployment, it aims to create over 1,000 jobs during the next one year.

It was during the Covid-19 induced lockdown that Vivekanand and two other co-founders hit the idea of developing this platform. "Liquor shops were closed and there was a lot of demand for liquor. Everyone was craving and trying different options. We started studying the whole liquor industry and decided to work on this idea," he said.

They found that the liquor industry in the country is heavily dependent on the government and there is a huge deficit in the consumer demand and the current supply in the market. They felt the need to build something based on community connections.

The co-founders also realised the need to network the community. "This platform is dedicated to people who enjoy drinking because there is lot of stigma associated with liquor. People on Facebook and other platforms don't feel free to share their experiences on liquor. This is a closed community where they can post and interact and they can learn how to make new cocktails," he said.

He did not agree that the platform will encourage liquor consumption. "In fact we will be promoting responsible drinking. Going forward, through our user interaction platform, we will try to solve various social issues related to consumption of alcohol such as depression, excessiveness, convenience etc," he said.

Booozie has collaborated with HyperVerge Technologies to provide for age-gating, ID verification, face recognition of users, thereby restricting under-age users to view content or place orders on the app. In addition, at the time of delivery, a check is done to ensure that no one misuses the platform.

Susovan Mazumder, Co-Founder and CPO of Booozie, said they noticed that there is a lack of information for users to choose the brands within their budget. "Booozie will give the users the access to a curated database of brands along with their pricing specific to their state. In the future, we intend to bring various features such as online drinking games which users and their friends can play on our platform, prepaid bottles at bars/clubs, spending tracker etc. which we believe will be a hit with the millennial audience."

Booozie intends to connect users to bars/clubs upon lifting the restrictions. "We have a comprehensive database of bars/clubs in every city, we anticipate low footfall for these outlets in the future due to the changed mindset of people. We propose to provide a platform for these outlets to draw users through coupons, events, offers, etc. Through our catalogue rating system, we also intend to help liquor manufacturers and state governments gauge the demand of particular brands that are unavailable in their state," he added.

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