In a place like Wagga Wagga, NSW the number of cafes and coffee shops per capita is significantly less than that of a Sydney or Melbourne. Therefore, it is no surprise that one of the first Australian ‘order ahead’ applications to ever enter the market was in fact from Wagga, a startup called 365Cups cofounded by Simone Eyles and Mars Stankiewicz back in 2011.
Since then almost 1 million orders have gone through the platform and the company employs a small but growing team of locals. It is one of the new breed of tech companies in the Riverina that represent new opportunities for up and coming graduates, particularly those attending universities in places like Albury, Wagga and Canberra.
In addition to its coffee ordering app, 365Cups offers a loyalty app and an enterprise product that is digitising the hospitality and ordering systems in nursing homes and hospitals across New Zealand.
365Cups’ flagship product is based on the idea that it is easier to order coffee on your phone than wait in a queue at a cafe. There are now thousands of businesses using the solution across Australia and New Zealand.
Quite simply the startup has a goal to change the way people order. There are also two other parts to the business, with the first centering on ‘loyalty’ and having the functionality for clients to be able to reward their customers directly through the platform.
At the enterprise level, the company has a third product called 365BLT which is used and rolled out at selected nursing homes and hospitals in New Zealand. Again the product plays in the hospitality and ordering space, replacing the old ‘tick and flick’ paper systems used in these types of facilities with a technology solution on an iPad.
“365BLT allows users to build profiles of patients, including their photos and their dietary requirements. Then the nurses can go around and spend time with the residents, go through the menus, assist them with picking their food – there are photos of the food – and then the chefs at those facilities can log into the system at the markets and see what food they will need to order,” said Eyles in an interview with Startup Daily last year.
Most of 365Cups’ competitors that have launched into the market have chosen to go with a clip-of-the-ticket business model which Eyles said they were never able to do as banks would not let them open an account under that business model.
This was common in 2011 for startups with a business model like theirs. It forced 365cups to change the original business model early on, which has worked out well for the company because it now operates on a white label and franchise system with a set up fee and subscription model, allowing 365Cups to always generate income.
Being based out of Wagga Wagga and running a global business may seem like a difficult task to master. Eyles said that at the beginning, when she and Stankiewicz first launched the company, a lot of people couldn’t understand why they would choose to be based out of a rural inland city.
“Our location has been something that I have taken advantage of all along, because we are not in a metro city competing with every other startup or ordering application, and there are plenty now,” said Eyles.
As a result of this strategy, 365Cups has a strong regional customer base throughout Australia and New Zealand. This has helped in growing a city customer base naturally: the first Sydney-based client came to them after seeing the system in action at a rural cafe whilst holidaying in the South Coast.
Eyles said that she is starting to notice a real shift when it comes to opportunities around launching technology-based businesses within rural areas, citing the difference in cost of living. The low cost of living means it’s easier to take a risk and start a company in the country.
The physical location never stopped her from thinking that 365Cups could become a global business.
“From the start we knew that we wanted to be global; that was always the vision.”
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