A year ago, when Echelon Thailand 2014’s Startup Launchpad was underway, eight judges from around the world had the tough job of deciding who would walk away with the title of Thailand’s Most Promising Startup.
Despite fierce competition, in their mind, they had just one winner – Wishbeer, a Thailand-based e-commerce startup which sends beer right to your doorstep. In a previous interview with e27, Founder Jerome Le Louer said he started Wishbeer simply because of his love for beer and the desire for entrepreneurship. We caught up with him one year on to check in and hear what he has to say to the startups in the race at Echelon Thailand 2015.
Here are the edited excerpts:
Tell us about Wishbeer.
Launched in February 2013, Wishbeer is the number one Beer Store in Thailand with over 500 beers and ciders from more than 20 countries. We do home delivery nationwide in Thailand, delivering the same day in Bangkok, and in two-three days for upcountry deliveries.
We also opened a pop up store/bar in Bangkok called “Wishbeer Home Bar“. We’re renting out an office and it is a great way for us to gain visibility offline, gain new customers, and also meet our online customers.
Any user numbers that you can share?
We’re currently managing over 500 orders a month, with a target to double this number of the next few months.
How big is the team now?
Our team has more than doubled since last year, with 20 members now! We’ve hired people for all departments of the company and, of course, a team to manage Wishbeer Home Bar.
From a person on the ground and experiencing it, how has the Thai ecosystem developed in the last year?
It has changed so much over the past few years, it’s really amazing and exciting. Thailand has definitely become a major hub for startups with all the infrastructure, co-working space, accelerators, pitching events and such. Also, there are now more and more VCs coming in so it becomes easier to get funding. There’s still some work to do on the government side to make the law more startups-friendly, but there are a lot of clever people pushing for it so I’m sure change will happen in the near future.
What’s new with Wishbeer since Echelon Thailand 2014?
Thanks to winning Echelon, we’ve gained visibility amongst investors which helped us get some angel funding in early 2015, and allowed us to invest both in a web development team and to launch our Home Bar. We also just launched our new website, which is more responsive, in the local language, with better search functionalities and nicer design. It’s a soft launch with still a few things to correct/adjust, so feedback is welcome.
What was your biggest takeaway from Echelon Thailand 2014?
It was an outstanding experience for me to participate in Echelon on several levels. I met a lot of interesting people, it was a chance also to promote my business and get visibility with potential investors. And obviously it was great to win, though completely unexpected!
Any advice for the Class of 2015?
One beer a day keeps the doctors away (laughing). More seriously, I’d say that it takes time to build something solid so patience, focus and a bit of luck will be required to make your dream come true in the long run!
Who will win this year’s Echelon Thailand’s Most Promising Startup Award? Find out on November 26 and 27, from 830 AM to 530 PM with an exclusive after-party that runs till late. The event will be hosted at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC). Tickets are available for purchase online. Exclusive to e27 readers, use promo code e27Subscriber to enjoy awesome savings.