Three years ago, Bahast and Beway saw promoters handing over vouchers where people could save a certain percentage on drinks and entrance fees, but the people were throwing out the vouchers. Soon they realized that the promoters were not targeting relevant customers and thought there is a better way of targeting the right customers.
Although all the founders had great ideas, the team decided to realize the MisterDrinkster idea because there was a gap in the market which was yet to be filled.
MisterDrinkster is a business offering online drink deals which it sells on behalf of bars, pubs, and nightclubs. The end users can save up to 80% on drinks and entrance fees. The company is located in Hatfield (North London).
The founders launched the business on September 25, 2014 with the startup capital of £25,000. The founders have funded the business from their own savings and profit from previous startups. It was started with 3 founders but later another co-founder joined the team.
Bahast Bakir and Beway Bakir are twin brothers and both were raised in Denmark where they studied Business Engineering and founded an importing company “twoB”. While studying, they managed to sell products to big international supermarket chains such as Aldi and Netto.
Oliver Simon joined the MisterDrinkster founding team a bit later than the other founders. Junaid Malik worked in the UK for the past 7 years and joined the team at the beginning.
MisterDrinkster is expecting to break even in 2 years. The team has been approached by investors and is currently evaluating different options.
“Junaid is a web developer, so we had minimum cost for developing the website,” says Bahast. The largest expense of the drinks deal website has been marketing and this will continue to be their biggest expense in the future as well.
Talking about the startup’s business model, founders say
We establish partnership with bars, pubs, and nightclubs in the UK and offer their drink deals on our website. The users are invited to pre-purchase a drink voucher or club entry token from MisterDrinkster’s website, either before leaving home or on their smart phone. In return they typically receive a discount of 50-80% off the standard bar prices. The user then redeems their chosen voucher at the selected bar. Not only does this give users the opportunity to try out new hip bars, it also removes the painful headache of the financial hangover the next morning.
Apart from focusing on drink deals, it also functions as a nightlife guide where users easily figure out venues. And, also users can purchase a drink anywhere and anytime.
Challenges are very common factor while growing a startup. MisterDrinkster is no exception to that. As per the founders below are the three biggest challenges faced by the team during initial days.
1. Managing time is extremely difficult. When starting up a business there are so many tasks that need to be done. You can quickly lose track of what you are doing and where you should put your focus on.
2. The hardest task for us was to obtain those first 1000 customers. We tried all the marketing initiatives that had worked for us in our earlier startups, but somehow we just did not get the outcome we wanted. We also tried the marketing “tricks” other startups were successfully using, but again these did not work out for us. It took us quite some time to find out what actually worked for us, but we really suffered in the initial months.
3. It has been really difficult to find mentors/advisors that have experience in the nightlife industry while also having insight into the online business world. We are currently working on getting “board members” that would function as advisors and, which hopefully will help us grow.
MisterDrinkster was nominated as the top100 UK startups in 2014 by The Pitch. Speaking of the initial responses, “In the industry we work in we have to focus on getting both the end users and the venues. In the initial months we decided to work on getting partnership with venues, but more recently we have shifted our focus and try growing the amount of users. We also use considerable amount on finding and hiring the right people to our team.”
The founders of MisterDrinkster interestingly have the same hobbies and interests although they are all different. All the founders like to socialize and discover new bars, pubs, and nightclubs. This is also one of the reasons they are successful with what they do.
Advising early stage start-ups, Bahast says, “it is very important to have a plan for how to get those first 100-1000 customers within a relatively short period. No one knows your brand so how will you spread the word about your service or product? Getting those initial customers is one of the hardest tasks a startup will have and it requires weeks if not months of preparation and some very creative and innovative marketing ideas.”