Coffee Monster is a mobile app that connects coffee lovers with coffee shops. It allows you to order and pay for your favourite beverage before you arrive. The app’s location service will notify the barista when to have your beverage ready so that you can pick it up – or choose curb side delivery. Need to double park to get your coffee? No problem! Looking for the best coffee spot in a new area? Coffee Monster has you covered too.
Ashleigh Nestadt is a 28-year-old entrepreneur who started Coffee Monster because of her own coffee challenges. As a student at UCT, Ashleigh loved her morning coffee – except she couldn’t always be sure she’d be able to find parking on her way to class each morning, and double parking without ordering first was out.
“In Joburg I could WhatsApp my order and pick it up on the way, but I didn’t have the numbers of the baristas in Cape Town,” she says.
Ashleigh started doing her homework. She investigated if there was a service connecting coffee shops with customers and how an app that did would function. She discovered that there was a gap in this niche market and started researching how Google’s location services could support just-in-time delivery.
“We had to work really hard to get the timing of this route right because obviously you don’t want your coffee cold when you arrive and we don’t want to cause any traffic when you’ve double parked. Tapping into Google’s time estimates – for the customer and the store – was essential.”
What we love about Coffee Monster is how the technology exists to take a problem that coffee lovers have been facing for years and yet there is a simple, elegant solution. It just needed to be created.
Like all true entrepreneurs, Ashleigh has taken a multi-faceted approach to the problem. Coffee Monster is an ordering app, but it is so much more as well. It is a contactless payment solution that gives local coffee shops an ecommerce solution they did not have before – which is driving store sign-ups to the app – and it gives users a view of all the coffee shops in a 30-km radius, leading to the discovery of new favourite hotspots. The personalised names of users is also helping to create better relationships between consumers and stores.
So, what are the lessons Ashleigh has learnt during her journey? The first is that while it’s incredible that the technology exists today for any entrepreneur to work with developers and bring a tech solution to market, most entrepreneurs want things to happen yesterday, which isn’t always possible. Getting a solution into the market early, testing it and refining it is the cornerstone of lean start-ups, but there is an element of patience required as well.
Next, customer acquisition was much tougher than Ashleigh expected. “You need to network, network, network,” she says. “Tell everyone about your product. So many entrepreneurs are scared someone will steal their idea and so they don’t tell anyone about it. You must tell people.”
We agree with Ashleigh – ideas are important, but at the end of the day, success lies in how well an idea is executed. Get out there and make it happen.
Watch the full video here
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