BevSpot banks $720,000 to help bars and restaurants better manage their booze

BevSpot co-founders Chidubem Ezekea, Alex Lesman, and Rory Crawford, outside the Harvard Innovation Lab.
BevSpot co-founders Chidubem Ezekea, Alex Lesman, and Rory Crawford, outside the Harvard Innovation Lab.

2014 has been a pretty action-packed year thus far for BevSpot: founded in March by Harvard Business School and MIT students…raised $20,000 in early funding shortly after by the student-run Dorm Room Fund…product launch in August…and now, a $700,000 seed funding round.

The startup, currently working out of Harvard’s Innovation Lab, has visions of becoming a web-based intermediary between liquor distributors and bars and restaurants. “We make it easier for bar and restaurant managers to find product, manage their inventory, and replenish it when they need to,” says co-founder and CEO Rory Crawford. “It streamlines what today is a pen-and-paper process.” By doing ordering and inventory management digitally, Crawford says, managers can get a better handle on what they’re spending, and the distributors may be able to take orders and make sales more efficiently.

As of August, BevSpot started working with several restaurants in Cambridge, and several local liquor distributors, such as Winebow and Commonwealth Wine and Spirits. Crawford says the service is currently free, but that BevSpot will likely charge distributors to use the platform — it may help them generate additional business, and cut down on visits by sales reps — and possibly will charge bars or restaurants for analytics related to their liquor sales.

Investors in the company include Robert Doris of Accanto Partners and former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth, currently earning his MBA at Harvard.

Of the founders, Crawford and chief technology officer Alex Lesman are taking a hiatus from school to focus on BevSpot; the third founder, Chidubem Ezekea, earned his Master’s in computer science earlier this year from MIT. Crawford says the company plans to move to its own office in Downtown Crossing this November.

Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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