in seed funding
The smarter way to do drinks business.
EzTenda was founded by Sam Showering in May 2022. Sam comes from a family of drink producers who has created iconic party drinks, including Baycham and Brother’s Cider, and has one of the UK’s largest production facilities producing over 2 million bottles a day. Since 2015, he has been Managing Director and Founder of the multi-award-winning drinks brand Pedrino Spritz.
Shortly after the founding of EzTenda, Douglas Warden jumped on the board. Douglas Warden, now CEO of EzTenda, worked for over seven years at Diageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverage company. Over his career, he’s been involved in billions of pounds worth of M&A transactions across a multitude of industries.
As a drink brand owner, Sam was frustrated with the traditional, in-person sales tendering process used to secure drink listings at venues. This process was slow and inefficient, and Sam believed it needed to be reimagined for the digital age. However, as a non-tech person, Sam needed a tech partner to help turn his idea into a digital product. That's where we came in.
"Sudolabs provide product discovery and strategy, which has been invaluable for us. Now we are reaching the scale-up period of our business, they have stayed relevant by being the most effective choice for high-level strategy, product maintenance, and regular user-led iterations, which has led to our award-winning platform."
There’s no easy way to manage the drinks sales process. Deals between the UK's 8,000+ drinks brands and 113,000+ venues are typically negotiated in person, making it time-consuming, non-transparent, and difficult. This outdated method costs the industry as much as £1 billion annually.
The process relied on existing relationships, preventing innovation and depriving consumers of new experiences. Small brands lack the right contacts, and the biggest brands are limited by the slow, inefficient process of agreeing on deals with venues in face-to-face meetings. The questions raised - is this something EzTenda could solve? Can we digitalize such a traditional industry?
We kicked off our cooperation with the product discovery phase. Before jumping to the development phase, we need to be sure we are building the right product.
We conducted market research and identified various user segments. Although the drinks and venues market may seem niche, it can still be further divided into smaller segments. By doing so, we can better define the product roadmap. For example, instead of simply adding another functionality, we can target a different user segment for our next steps in the future.
To eliminate bias, we recruited potential users who were not familiar with us. Our goal was to observe their current journey and identify any problems they faced. Through this process, we gained a detailed understanding of the current journey, market dynamics, and main issues, including:
To ensure we develop the right product, we must test the main risks associated with it. We've identified 15 hypotheses to test, mostly relating to desirability risks. For instance, we needed to know if bar and beverage industry users are tech-savvy enough to use digital tools and if they'd switch from personal contact to an online marketplace. Everything revolved around one thing: Is online tendering going to bring better results than the current process?
To validate this, we created a functional prototype, using the low-code tool Bubble. In just five days, we built the entire tendering application, onboarded seven gin producers, and conducted two tenders, which resulted in more positive outcomes than those that took place offline. During this time, we also conducted interviews with each of the pubs and gin producers, compiling the five main user journeys, and creating a UX design.
After completing the discovery phase, we were much more confident and accurate in building the MVP. We accelerated the development by using our standard tech stack, which minimized the time spent on set-up, and so we immediately started working on product features. Using our proven tech stack not only enabled us to develop at a fast pace, but also made the product scalable for the future. When we resumed development after a break for another fundraising, the team was able to quickly pick up where they left off and continue delivering features.
Apollo GraphQL Client
Together, we have created an easy and intuitive digital marketplace that modernizes and transforms the drink sales process. Bars, pubs, or other hospitality venues can now openly tender their listing deals, while drinks brands can bid for them. Thousands of prospective suppliers can now navigate bids, and listings often come with brand support in the form of retros, listing fees, and marketing support. Eztenda seeks to facilitate these negotiations while bringing much-needed transparency to the process.
Venues can register for the platform and post tenders free of charge. Brands can then bid on these tenders, providing information about cost, volume, brand support, and supplier details.
The platform allows venues to communicate with brands and request samples, as well as rate bids on their dashboard.
Once a bid is selected, a PDF agreement is sent to both parties. Venues are responsible for procuring products from the agreed-upon suppliers and can track brand support on the Eztenda site.
A venue pays a percentage of the estimated tender volumes multiplied by the price of the product when a bid is won.
Let the numbers speak for themselves. Since its public launch, EzTenda has facilitated £58.6 million in transaction value and received a total of 1,789 bids. The monthly bid rate has increased by an impressive 610% YoY. Today, EzTenda is used across the UK in many venues.
When it comes to funding, EzTenda secured a pre-seed investment of £500,000 ($690,000) from entrepreneurs and industry experts including Jack Greenall from the Greenall Brewing dynasty, Jonnie Goodwin Co-Founder of the Founders Forum, and Harwood Capital. After delivering an MVP, they were able to secure another round of funding worth £1,000,000.
In addition, EzTenda has been selected as a finalist for the B2B Website of the Year award at the UK Dev Awards. Moreover, EzTenda received the Best Food & Drink Software Solution award in 2022 from LUXlife Magazine and has also been shortlisted as a finalist for the UK Business Tech Awards.
EzTenda is our long-term partner. We started with the initial idea and have been cooperating together for more than a year and a half. The product really moves the whole industry forward and we're happy to be a part of it.