We started working on this because we believe that coffee is the most overlooked sub-vertical in retail. Coffee is the most repeated purchase that Americans make every day, with over 220M cups purchased daily at coffee shops, cafes, bakeries and diners. Starbucks is the largest chain, but they only process 2.5% of those daily sales. It’s the 50,000 independent merchants across the U.S. that sell the largest percentage. Starbucks' order-ahead app is actually the most-used mobile payment app in the US—more than Apple Pay and Google Pay. Their users know that they can use the same mobile app at any Starbucks location. But the rest of the market, the other 97.5%, haven’t had a similar option. We’re focused on providing that experience across independent coffee shops in the US.
We consider the two of us meeting as our luckiest milestone to date. James had set out to build his own development agency at the same time that Tim was looking for help building v1 of Cloosiv. We met on Upwork and quickly realized that our skillsets complimented each other. That contract was James’ first and last while running his own agency.
Since our initial launch in 2018, we’ve processed over 35,000 orders for $250,000+ in revenue on behalf of our coffee shop partners, with orders and volume growing 40% monthly. Our network includes over 200 local coffee shops, with another 150+ locations currently onboarding. We’ve been able to win these early customers by building our product alongside them. In addition to gaining their trust, this process has resulted in features that set us apart from incumbent ordering options. For example, our merchants can log in from any device and make on-the-fly changes. If they’ve run out of almond milk, they can remove that option with a single click, so that customers can’t order almond milk and be disappointed when they arrive.
We're sometimes asked: why is no one else doing this? There are many mobile ordering apps, but they've all but ignored the coffee market. This is probably because the average coffee receipt is so low in comparison to the merchants they typically support. Another reason is the level of specificity that’s required to win the support of coffee merchants, who are keenly aware of customer expectation when serving time-sensitive, hot-temperature items like espresso. It turns out that a good app for ordering pizza is not the same thing as a good app for ordering coffee. We’ve been able to win coffee shops by remaining focused on their market and its specific needs. This is an opportunity to build the most-used mobile payment option for the most commonly purchased commodity in the country.
Most of our current locations skew towards the east coast, because we’re based in Charlotte, NC and it’s where we gained initial traction. Our priority right now is to increase our presence on the west coast. If you wish your local coffee shop had an order ahead option, we’d really appreciate if you shared Cloosiv with them. We’re going to prioritize the most requested-by-HN shops for the next few weeks. You can submit a referral by clicking “Invite a Coffee Shop” on our website or in the app to get a $10 reward - mention Hacker News in the submission and we’ll do everything we can to get them on board!
We'd also love to hear your ideas and feedback about anything and everything in this space! If you want to check out the app, download Cloosiv on your Apple or Android device and if there’s a shop around you, enter promo code HN-2019 at checkout and get 50% off any item. Ok, that's all from us. Please share your thoughts and ask any questions you’d like.