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Flaschenpost: a startup dedicated to supply beverages in this innovative way

The delivery service secures a high investment from the US to conquer more cities. Now the Münsteraner have to prove that they fix points of criticism.

With 50 million euros in fresh capital, the beverage delivery service wants to advance Flaschenpost from Münster to other cities in Germany. Thus, Bremen is to be connected to the delivery area and seven to nine other cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants in the Ruhr and East and South Germany, confirms CEO and Chief Financial Officer Stephen Weich in conversation with WirtschaftsWoche founder. Newcomer to the Series C round of financing is New York Venture Capital Tiger Global. Nearly a year ago, 20 million euros flowed from investors.

The Münster start-up supplies households and offices with drinks. Within two hours, the online order should arrive at the customer. To accomplish this, Flaschenpost builds its own warehouses and delivery teams at each site. A personnel- and cost-intensive model, but in the view of the managing director worthwhile: “The entire delivery process has a high complexity with a large order volume, which is very difficult to decentralized by small business can be mapped. Therefore, in our view, a key to success is to keep all processes in-house, “says Weich. In the background, the start-up uses software that optimizes the preparation of the delivery in the warehouse and the routes for the drivers.

It remains unclear whether Flaschenpost can cover its personnel requirements. In Hamburg, the company had to take a forced break because employees were missing to process the orders. The start-up wants to be better prepared for similar bottlenecks in the future, explains the managing director. The company is still in the “learning process”. It is clear that the new employees are to be employed directly in bottle mail: “It is important to us to hire the warehouse staff and the drivers ourselves,” says Weich. “That way, we can ensure that employees are well treated and fairly remunerated, above the minimum wage. It also makes communication easier. ”

Reaction to criticism of working conditions

At the point it lags last, as media reports about “Spiegel Online” (€) in mid-February showed. Among other things, the criticism of coworkers at the working conditions brought Flaschenpost in the negative headlines. Specifically, the complaints related to about fancy heaters in the Münsteraner camp. The boss of the delivery service points out that it has already been improved: “We drew our conclusions directly and now pay more attention to the quality of the warehouse properties in terms of the working environment. We only take the areas that exactly meet our requirements in the course of growth at the respective location, “says Weich.

Flaschenpost processes up to 50,000 orders per week according to their own statements. Already represented is the start-up in addition to the main location Münster in Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg, Bochum, Hanover, and Duisburg. The delivery is free and the prices should be at the supermarket level, so the start-up earns so far only with the margin from the beverage purchase money. In some cities, the delivery service with a total of 1,700 employees is already in the black, says Weich to WirtschaftsWoche founder. However, the CEO does not want to reveal when the company plans to work profitably – the focus is currently on growth.

Advance in online food trade

However, it is foreseeable that Flaschenpost will continue to go beyond its core drinks business. The company, which was founded three years ago, already supplies snacks, coffee beans and toilet paper in addition to water, wine and spirits. In the future, new products are to be added, as CEO Weich announces: “Even if it is not the short-term plan, it is not impossible that we will also look at the topic of fresh food in the course of an intelligent range expansion.” However, he wants to proceed with caution : “You have to approach the assortment expansion with great care so as not to become entangled in complexity. And beverage delivery will remain our core competence, “says Weich, who heads the young company with Christopher Huesmann and Niklas Plath.

With snacks, milk, and Co. in the product range, the start-up penetrates into the online food trade, which also causes difficulties for industry players like Amazon. Above all, the storage of fresh and perishable goods is considered problematic. An attack on industry giants such as Rewe or Amazon in May last year announced the online supermarket – with the help of closer cooperation with the retailer Metro. With an online shop for premium food, the Hamburg start-up Delinero ventured on the market but had to give up in October.

Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups
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