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Buy A Friend A Beer With Buddy Beers

21 November 2011COMMENTS

While in Berlin recently I picked up a magazine called ExBerliner and read an interesting article about the surge of start-up companies who have opted to run their business from this cool, creative and laid back city. Since 2005 there have been over 400 internet start-ups founded in Berlin, 250 of those since 2009.

The most successful of these start-ups, founded by two Swedes in 2007, is the online music platform SoundCloud which boasts over 7 millions users. Another start-up, Wooga, also just got a nice injection of $24 million in a second round of funding and are said to be the largest social gaming developers in Europe. These are just two examples of the many great companies at the fore frot of the digital scene. However it was Buddy Beers which captured my atention.

Buddy Beers is a simple idea. A site where you can purchase a beer for your friend online and send him a code to redeem it at one of the Buddy Beers participating bars. The concept came about as the founder Travis Todd wanted to buy a beer for his brother on his 21st birthday. The only problem was he was in Berlin and his brother was back home in the U.S.

The idea, even at prototype stage, has gained Carlsberg's interest. Early this year they teamed up and created a Buddy Beers Carlberg Facebook app and iPhone app.

Buddy Beers Carslberg Facebook App

The idea is you buy your friend a beer through the main site, iPhone app or Facebook app using PayPal or their own virtual currency call BuddyBucks. Your friend then either receives a Facebook notification or SMS with a 6 digit number. They can then redeem the code at one of the participating bars. In the video below it shows the barmaid writing the code down, which seemed a bit odd, but after a bit more research I found out that they also created a 'bar management dashboard' on their site. This allows bars to validate the code and avoid mistakes or duplicates.

This idea has real potential as a marketing tool as recommendation and word of mouth are fast becoming the main force behind driving sales, and it could be applied to other things such as coffee shops, fast food chains and even cinemas. With more location-based integration and as the networks of Buddy Beers bars increase I can see this idea becoming a huge success.

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