Changing The Game Of Alcohol Delivery

Lindsey Andrews
Founder and CEO, Revido
1hr 32min
March 21, 2024
About the Show

"It's so fun hiring your team and working with people you really like and not having so much bureaucracy. If you want to do something, you can do it. Anything you accomplish feels so good."

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Lindsey Andrews is the founder of Minibar, an on-demand alcohol delivery service that was acquired by Reserve Bar in 2021. Andrews is now the Founder and CEO of Revido, an app designed to revolutionize the way we review and recommend products and services. 

Andrews' entrepreneurial journey began when she and her co-founder recognized the need for a convenient alcohol delivery service during their "takeout tuesdays," leading to founding the online alcohol delivery service, MiniBar. Throughout the interview, Andrews shares valuable insights and experiences from her entrepreneurial journey that led to Minibar’s acquisition. She discusses the challenges of navigating the highly regulated alcohol industry and the importance of having a strong network of advisors and investors. Andrews also touches on the difficulties of fundraising as a first-time entrepreneur and a woman in a male-dominated industry.

This episode is a must-listen for aspiring entrepreneurs, founders, MBA students, and managers. Andrews' journey is an excellent example of how to navigate the challenges of building a successful startup in a highly regulated industry. Her insights on fundraising, team building, and work-life balance are invaluable for anyone looking to start or grow a business. Additionally, her experience with the acquisition of Minibar and her decision to start a new venture provide a unique perspective on the different paths entrepreneurs can take after a successful exit.

Episode Resources: 

Minibar - Lindsey Andrews' on-demand alcohol delivery startup
Revido - Lindsey Andrews' new venture focused on trusted recommendations
Reserve Bar - The company that acquired Minibar in 2021
Fresh Direct - Lindsey Andrews worked here prior to founding Minibar

Key Moments

From Wanting Wine to Successful Exit: 5 Tips For Building A Business from Entrepreneur Lindsey Andrews

Lindsey Andrews, a seasoned entrepreneur and the founder of Minibar Delivery, recently shared her incredible journey on the Forward Obsessed podcast. Lindsey's entrepreneurial journey began when she co-founded Minibar, a pioneering alcohol delivery service that aimed to revolutionize the way people order and receive beverages. Despite multiple near-failures and the need to pivot, Lindsey and her team persevered, ultimately leading to a successful acquisition.

From ideation to acquisition, Lindsey's path was filled with triumphs, near-failures, and pivotal lessons that every aspiring entrepreneur should hear. In this article, we dive deep into five key learnings from Lindsey's interview, providing invaluable insights for those looking to build and eventually exit their own startups.

1. Validate your idea through market research and by seeking feedback from your network.

Lindsey and her co-founder's "aha moment" for Minibar came during a "takeout Tuesday" dinner when they realized there was no easy way to get wine delivered. However, they didn't rush into building the business. Instead, they validated the concept by researching the legal landscape and seeking feedback from their networks.

This approach is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs. Before investing significant time and resources into an idea, it's essential to conduct thorough market research and gather feedback from trusted sources. Validate the problem you're solving, assess the competitive landscape, and ensure there's a viable path forward.

Put it into practice:

Start by conducting a thorough market analysis. Use tools like Google Trends, SimilarWeb, or SEMrush to assess the demand for your product or service. Create a survey using platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to gather feedback from your target audience. Reach out to your network on LinkedIn or attend industry events to discuss your idea with experienced professionals. Consider joining entrepreneur communities like Startup Grind or Entrepreneurs' Organization to connect with like-minded individuals and seek advice.

2. Don't underestimate the importance of hiring the right people, especially a strong technical co-founder.

One of the most critical factors in Minibar's early success was finding the right CTO. Lindsey emphasized how lucky she was to find a technical leader who was not only skilled but also an excellent communicator and manager.

Having a strong technical co-founder is invaluable for tech startups. They not only lead the development of your product but also play a crucial role in communicating with stakeholders and driving the company forward. As you build your team, prioritize finding individuals who align with your vision, possess the necessary skills, and can effectively communicate with both technical and non-technical audiences.

Put it into practice:

When searching for a technical co-founder, look for someone who not only possesses the necessary technical skills but also shares your vision and values. Attend hackathons, tech meetups, or conferences like TechCrunch Disrupt to network with potential candidates. Utilize platforms like AngelList, Founder Dating, or CoFoundersLab to find a co-founder who complements your skill set. Once you've found the right person, establish clear roles, responsibilities, and equity distribution to ensure a strong partnership.

3. Prepare for fundraising to be challenging, and approach it strategically.

Fundraising is a critical component of any startup's journey, but it's rarely easy. Lindsey, even as a second-time founder, faced challenges when raising money for Minibar. She advises founders to raise more than they think they need, avoid rolling closes if possible, and be highly strategic in pitch meetings.

When approaching investors, come prepared with a solid pitch deck, a clear vision, and a deep understanding of your market. Lindsey also emphasizes the importance of conducting reference checks on potential investors, stating, "I would do that now, but also if you're having a really hard time, it's nice to be able to say that, but if you're having a really hard time fundraising and someone offers you money, it's hard to say no."

Put it into practice:

Begin by creating a compelling pitch deck that clearly articulates your value proposition, target market, and growth potential. Use tools like Canva or Pitch to design professional-looking slides. Research potential investors on platforms like Crunchbase or PitchBook to identify those who have invested in similar startups. Attend startup competitions, demo days, or pitch events to get in front of investors and refine your pitch. Consider applying to accelerator programs like Y Combinator or Techstars to gain access to mentorship, resources, and investor networks.

4. Be ready to adapt your business model and operations as you scale.

As Minibar grew, Lindsey quickly realized the need to shift resources from pure marketing and branding to operational areas like inventory management, data infrastructure, and customer service.

Adaptability is key for startups as they scale. What works in the early stages may not be sustainable as the company grows. Be prepared to continuously reassess your business model, optimize operations, and invest in the necessary infrastructure to support your growth.

Put it into practice:

Regularly assess your business model and operations using frameworks like the Business Model Canvas or the Lean Startup methodology. Use tools like Asana, Trello, or Monday.com to manage projects and optimize workflows. Implement metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress and identify areas for improvement. Stay up-to-date with industry trends and customer feedback to adapt your product or service offerings accordingly. Consider joining peer advisory groups or seeking guidance from a business coach to navigate scaling challenges.

5. Have a long-term vision, but be flexible on the path you take to get there.

Lindsey always had a long-term vision of pursuing an exit for Minibar, but she couldn't have predicted the exact timeline or acquirer. Her advice to founders is to stay focused on building a great product and company first and foremost, but to keep an open mind to opportunities as they arise.

Having a clear vision for your startup is essential, but it's equally important to remain flexible and open to new possibilities. Stay focused on creating value for your customers and building a strong foundation, but be ready to pivot when necessary and seize opportunities that align with your goals.

Put it into practice:

Create a clear, long-term vision for your startup and communicate it effectively to your team, investors, and stakeholders. Use tools like Miro or Mural to collaborate on vision boards and strategy maps. Set achievable milestones and break them down into smaller, actionable tasks. Regularly review and adjust your roadmap based on market conditions, customer feedback, and new opportunities. Embrace a growth mindset and be open to pivoting when necessary. Read books like "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries or "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz to learn from successful entrepreneurs who have navigated the challenges of building and scaling a startup.

Lindsey Andrews' entrepreneurial journey with Minibar is a testament to the resilience, adaptability, and strategic thinking required to successfully build and exit a startup. By validating your idea, surrounding yourself with the right people, approaching fundraising strategically, adapting as you scale, and staying true to your long-term vision, you can navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship and position yourself for success.

To hear more of Lindsey's incredible insights and stories, be sure to check out her full interview on the Forward Obsessed podcast. Her experiences and wisdom are invaluable for any aspiring entrepreneur looking to make their mark in the startup world.

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