Name: Welch Nikki.
Old age: 41.
What is your company’s name?
Where are they based?
What facilities does it offer?
For the hospitality industry, what we consider informative and appropriate preparation. Specifically for front desk employees, our first product is a wine training app to help restaurants, hotels and bars instill confidence and expertise in their staff to maximize customer service and improve sales. The app features material that includes videos, quizzes and diagrams with multimedia’ drops ‘. We run ‘quench sessions’ online that offer front desk employees the chance to learn and socialize in an informal way.
To whom is it sold?
The Quenchable app is intended for hotels, restaurants and wine bars, particularly those with multiple locations or venues where it is harder for the wine specialist to be with employees on site. We operate on a ‘pay as you learn’ basis, where the whole team has access to the app, but only the workers who used it that month are paid by the company. The license will be passed to the new employee if anyone leaves the company.
What is the income from them?
We officially began trading in May, so we don’t have sales figures yet, but in the first year, our estimate is £ 145,000.
How many workers does the organization have?
Blair Bowman, my co-founder, and I make up the core team. We used specialist local firms for the technology and visual elements during product development. Our designers, Glasgow Modern, all worked in bars. We are using a local Edinburgh College of Art graduate, Ella Bruty, for all of our illustrations. She works in the hospitality industry as well, so she understands the target audience.
When was this company founded?
In 2018, we began working on the product and spent 18 months creating the software before releasing this year in May.
Why did the plunge take you?
While studying French and economics in France, I fell in love with wine and was fortunate enough to work in my first job at a wine company. I met makers, I had a taste for experts, and there was always someone to answer my naive questions. Many individuals are not so fortunate. They operate in the hospitality industry and are suddenly supposed to be able to talk about wine to their clients.
I was already self-employed and the WineTubeMap, the WhiskyTubeMap and the BeerTubeMap were made. I also did a number of events and pop-ups promoting my books and expanding my theoretical work around the language of taste and flavor, mostly in the restaurant industry.
How did you raise the money for the start-up?
Miriam Smith and the Business Innovation Zone at Queen Margaret University, where I received my MSc in Gastronomy, gave us a lot of encouragement. They helped us to develop links and access financing, particularly from Santander, which enabled us to continue to innovate and support our clients during the pandemic.
We discovered that the creation of digital resources is about iterating our assumptions with our potential audience and checking them. So we sponsored the Minimum Viable Product at each point and put it into the hands of people. At each point we had some help, a grant from Scottish Enterprise got our first prototype off the ground (along with our own investment) and on the back of that we won the wildcard round of the Scottish Edge Awards in 2018, which allowed us to develop the first version of the app that we took to customers.
What was the toughest moment you had?
Perhaps the realization in March that the hospitality industry was shutting down. At that point, wine education seemed totally irrelevant!
What was the biggest breakthrough you made?
The closure meant that a lot of hospitality staff were on leave and had time on their hands. We adapted our system and created a special £1 offer so individuals could download the app and build their own wine knowledge and skills. This allowed us to connect directly with our users and that gave us a new market and a direct conversation with the people who needed the app.
We also won the Scottish Digital Business Award for Education and Training in 2019, which has given us a big boost.
What do you enjoy most about running the company?
I love the fact that we combine creativity, design, technology un