The craft beverage industry is exploding across the country and the globe. Operating a successful craft brewery, winery, coffee shop or distillery requires a host of specialized equipment. Lincoln startup BrewBids is streamlining the process of buying and selling that equipment.
“There’s a huge boom in the craft beer industry, with a lot of new equipment and a lot of used equipment before long,” said co-founder Matt Johns. “We primarily started the business to fill a void in that market.”
BrewBids provides an online platform for buyers and sellers of beverage equipment.
“We’re a completely free online marketplace where sellers of any beverage equipment can list for free for potential buyers to search and find,” he said. “It’s eBay for beverage equipment.”
The company was started in 2015 by Johns and three others. Their initial focus was the craft beer industry, and the revenue model was a percentage of sales.
“We would charge a buyer’s fee originally,” he said. “If someone sold a fermentation tank for $10,000, we’d take $300.”
That approach helped get the business off the ground. But it also prompted the occasional under-the-table transaction that cut BrewBids out of the revenue stream.
“Being able to monetize a sale is so tough when they can just call the person and make the sale directly,” Johns said. “But if we could just collect some revenue to get the business going, it would be fine.”
Generating a revenue stream without a marketing budget was a difficult but necessary step toward growth.
“We knew we didn’t have a marketing budget and hoped it would grow itself,” Johns said. “Thankfully it has.”
After starting with bootstrap financing, BrewBids recently attracted outside investment. That enabled the company to revamp its website, invest in marketing, move away from the transaction revenue model and expand into other…