There is a shift happening in how people get their goods. Amazon delivers fresh product, Wal-Mart ships groceries to your door, and Barkbox sends your dog something special each month. It’s instant access to the things you want, without the chore of getting out and hunting it down. Devaraj Southworth, CEO of Thirstie, takes home delivery to a fun new level. We spoke with Devaraj about his business, background, and tips for mobile entrepreneurs.
What's your background and why did you start your business?
I've been involved in marketing and media for the last 18 years and mobile for the last five, but the idea for Thirstie came while I was sitting in a bar sipping cocktails and chatting about entrepreneurship and ideas with a close friend.
Everyone’s responses were overwhelmingly positive. I heard plenty of “I'd definitely use it” or “I can't believe something like this doesn't exist”. I then had to figure out the legal hurdles. After extensive market research, industry analysis and conversations with industry experts, I figured out our overall strategy. Even though I didn't have all the answers, I knew that by partnering with the right people, I would eventually get them.
Tell us about your business and what makes it unique.
I wondered wouldn't it be great to get all the cocktail recipes on one platform and have all the ingredients delivered to you in under an hour? The idea personally appealed to both of us, but the first thing I did was share it with close friends to gauge their reaction. That's what's so great about the liquor delivery space it's all about the relationships and the experiences we help create. We build relationships with vendors and small businesses and deliver experiences to our customers, we act as bridge between the desires of consumers and the practical needs of small businesses (more customers).
Where do you see the business in the next 5 years?
I believe that the growth potential in New York, nationally and internationally is enormous but right now we are focused on gaining traction in major US cities such as New York, LA, Chicago and Miami.
What are some future trends in the mobile industry?
I think we will continue to see that growth of an on-demand culture. Because of mobile technology, convenience and access are two things that customers expect at all times. I think that in a number of industries you will see more efforts to cater to the “I want it now” consumer.
What advice would you give to aspiring mobile entrepreneurs?
My advice would be to follow your gut. On the one hand, bounce your idea off of as many trusted people as possible to see what they really think, but on the other hand, don’t take criticism personally and use it to make your product or idea better. And if you really believe in what you have, run with it. I would also say networking is extremely important. The more people you have in your network, the easier it is to find solutions for any kind of problem or issue that might come up. Finally, work really hard at building the right team. The team is everything. We have extremely talented developers, industry experts in marketing, and a very knowledgeable set of advisors. Thirstie is what it is based upon the collective strength of our team.