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The UK is moving full steam ahead on removing restrictions, and after a year of evenings in the living room, people are poised to start going back out again. According to Forbes data, consumer sentiment in March, Nielsen found that the majority of consumers, 61%, feel ready to resume their daily lives, going out to restaurants, bars, retail stores and more.
However, if you’ve ventured out recently to take advantage of new freedoms, you’ll likely have noticed how difficult it can be to secure bookings, especially at popular venues. This new wave of recovery and rush to secure reservations sets the perfect stage for startups like Groubook, that make booking nights out with friends easy and rewarding. Founded in the heart of the pandemic by East Midlands entrepreneur and 2021 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Midlands nominee Bradley Gough, Groubook faced a tough first few months as the hospitality industry ground to a halt. Despite this, the startup’s team quickly went into innovation mode, and was able to capitalise on the opportunity to sell pre-booked slots to customers at bars and restaurants, giving venues the flexibility and control over their capacity in the face of changing restrictions and social distancing rules.
With typical startup energy and determination, Groubook built and launched its platform in just 6 months, despite never having built an app before. In August, just after the first wave of restrictions began to ease in the UK, Groubook saw massive growth in its first 6 weeks of trading – 500 bookings, over £3,000 in sales and over 2 bookings on average per customer. One particular highlight for the startup was facilitating 178 bookings for a local Nottingham bar event during the pandemic, translating to £890 in pre-booking revenue. More broadly, the platform also onboarded over 300 venues nation-wide and grew from a two-man office to a 2,000 square foot office space. With eyes on future growth and potential exit, the team is already in promising discussions with the Chief Development Officer of its key exit target, a publicly listed company with a $60 billion market cap.
Groubook has set its sights primarily on the millennial and student market, which represents a significant portion of Nottingham’s population. Millennials, who are on the brink of reaching their prime spending years, go out twice per week on average, spending a whopping £6,589 a year on food and beverage and entertainment. Students, who dominate many of the UK’s university towns, go out three times per week on average, with 65% of them actively looking for discounts, coupons and rewards. This target market makes Groubook’s proposition especially appealing, as the platform’s users, aptly named ‘Groubies’, can use the app to pre-book nights out and unlock discounts of up to 25%, plus rewards.
For venue partners, the Groubook model is equally attractive. In adopting the service, partners get non-contract service with no upfront fees, and the ability to increase footfall in their venues quickly and seamlessly. Groubook allows them to realise revenue daily, and only charges on pre-bookings made through the app.
With the proceeds from this crowdfunding round which just launched on Seedrs, Groubook will be looking to invest in bringing its tech team in house, along with growing its management team and full-time staff. The team will also be supercharging its marketing efforts, and setting up strategically-placed satellite offices at universities.
To find out more about Groubook, and for the opportunity to invest, visit the pitch now.