2020 Strakosch Venture Competition — Spotlight Company #6
Meet Drizly: Liquor, Quicker
As any successful entrepreneurs do, Drizly co-founders and Boston College alumni Nick Rellas, Spencer Frazier, and Justin Robinson identified a problem to solve through starting their own business: why was almost anything available through an app, except for beer? They realized the entire alcohol business had not evolved much since Prohibition ended in 1933, so their goal was to figure out a way to integrate technology into the industry.
The company was founded in July of 2012 by Boston College alumni, and since then has raised over $69 million in venture funding and has expanded to serving over 180 markets, including 26 different states and even Alberta, Canada. Nick Rellas and Justin Robinson were even recognized as two of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” entrepreneurs in 2015, just three years after Drizly’s founding.
According to a Heights article from 2014, “It all started with a text message.” Nick Rellas, BC’12, had gone to reach for a beer from his fridge in Ignacio Hall only to find it empty, which prompted him to text Justin Robinson, BC ‘11: “‘Hey man, why doesn’t alcohol delivery from your phone exist?’” While at BC, Rellas worked at New England Coffee Company, and he cites his time there as “where [he] really got the framework for what [he] calls an obsession with the fact that technology has been unable to implement itself into these regulated industries,” leading him to explore the possibility of implementing technology into the highly regulated industry of alcohol sales.
One of Drizly’s main focuses remains to not overtake the alcohol industry as a whole, but to empower each of the three-tiers of the industry: suppliers, distributors, and retailers. Rellas explains, “we’re [...] empowering all tiers, all steps of the process with technology, data, et cetera, that no one has ever seen before.” They also take pride in being a trusted part of their customers’ lives, as stated on their website, “We are there when it matters - committed to life's moments and the people who create them.”
In The Heights article from 2014, Nick Rellas and Justin Robinson attribute much of their success back to their time and education at BC, citing Professor John Gallagher as one of their very first and most instrumental supporters. On the topic of increasing entrepreneurial interest on campus at the time, Robinson explained, “I love BC first and foremost because of the people. You have a bunch of people who are well-rounded, some are athletes, maybe not, you have smart people that do well in school and still like to have fun—it’s a type of person that is entrepreneurial to begin with.” Drizly’s founding story of exploding success is both inspiring and motivating, potentially driving the next group of BC students to embrace their entrepreneurial personalities and to create a problem-solving business of their own. To learn more visit Drizly’s website! They’re still operating during qurantine.
Drizly was started at Boston College and any BC student, undergraduate or graduate, can also do the same and win prize money for their own startup! There is still time to enter Start@Shea’s annual Strakosch Venture Competition. The application can be found here and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us via our email listed below! The application is DUE TONIGHT, 04/14/2020, at 11:59pm EDT.
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