On-demand alcohol delivery service Liquorun is extending into Sydney.
The startup is set to launch this week in the Harbour city after launching in Melbourne last year.
Liquorun founder Joel Macdonald came up with the idea in 2012 when he realised “there was a pain point when you can’t drive and getting in a taxi was half the price of the slab of beer. It didn’t make sense”.
He had been playing professional AFL for the Brisbane Lions and the Melbourne Demons for about 11 years and was one year away from getting cut. Macdonald enrolled in Monash University to study business but said he “learnt nothing” there.
Instead he started a number of his own companies, including a fashion label but none really worked out.
While overseas he caught an Uber and started to question why the same service couldn’t be offered for deliveries.
“Linking customers to drivers made sense,” he said.
The company started as a beer delivery service in Melbourne to test and build out an on-demand logistics engine.
Liquorun now offers on-demand, after-hours delivery for items including beer, wine and spirits, fast food and even cigarettes. But the company and service he’s built behind Liquorun, Swift, is the “engine”. It’s an on-demand logistics company which can be used to deliver almost anything.
You can see the evolution of the company in these two screenshots of the app. The one on the left would only send you beer while the one on the right can deliver a whole range of products.
Macdonald said he’s had to hire a fleet of drivers to keep up with weekend demand in Melbourne. Liquorun also crowdsources its drivers from within the taxi industry.
“It’s a nice substitute for drivers,” he said.
“Usually when Uber is really busy we’re slower and when we’re busy, Uber is generally slower.”
The startup will launch with services to suburbs south of the Harbour Bridge first, with North Sydney coming online next month. Brisbane has also been slated as the next Australian market for the company.
“We’re very excited to introduce Liquorun to Sydney. I think the people of Sydney will enjoy the convenience of having their favourite items delivered to their door after normal hours,” Macdonald said.
As for the NSW laws which prevent the sale of takeaway alcohol after 10pm, Macdonald said: “Nothing really good happens with alcohol delivery after 12am anyway.”
“From a business perspective it doesn’t really make sense to deliver after 11pm or 12am,” he said. “Having a fleet on the road at 5am doesn’t make sense.”
A BlueChilli graduate, Liquorun is just about to close an angel round of funding to finance the expansion. It will launch a series A round soon after as it looks to open the on-demand delivery service in Asia and the US.
He’s also looking into drones and self driving cars as a delivery vehicle options but said the technology isn’t right yet so that development will be a little way off.
“We’re going for market share right now,” he said.