Technology

Drinkz App – for that mate who forgets his round

rod cohan found of Drinkz App

We’ve all got a mate who conveniently forgets his wallet in the car, can’t find his credit card or leaves just before the next round – which happens to be his.

Well, his time is officially up thanks to new app Drinkz. Developed by Sydney-based Navy Officer, Rod Cohan, this start up solves the age-old dilemma of whose shout is next.

The idea for the Drinkz App was, and it should come as no surprise, conceived in a pub. Founder Rod Cohan had been posted to Defence Force Recruiting in Brisbane, and the move interstate left him feeling isolated from his social network, to the point where he was sitting in a pub wondering how he could develop a business to encapsulate his interests. A firm believer of when you do what you love it ceases to be work, Cohan questioned, “What do I love, and how can I transition it into a business?” Breaking down his interests and looking back on fond memories in the Navy, “some of my best times were sitting around with mates in a pub having a shout and a laugh,” he says.

That is when Cohan had the light-bulb moment.

As Aussie as it comes, Drinkz App is an original concept designed purely as a social platform for like-minded individuals who socialise and drink regularly with friends.  The app allows users to invite friends for a shout at a pub (or any venue), and then keep track of whose round it is in sequential order, and also has features which allow users to create their own profile, and records ‘Session Stats’ once the evening is over. There is also a ‘randomiser’ option which throws order out the window, randomly choosing a user to pay for a round.

app interface

There is also a ‘Drinkerz Nearby’ feature which has been a natural evolution of the app, and allows users the opportunity to meet up with other users in the area. Cohan has found this feature has evolved Drinkz App into a successful dating app where, similar to other dating apps like Tinder and Happn, more and more users are taking advantage of the geolocation function and using Drinkz App as a way to meet like-minded people in similar locations. Although the idea of Drinkz App becoming a dating app was not part of the original approach, part of it was to bring users together. Cohan stresses it’s a neutral platform to meet a new network of people, and for him, compares the concept to “ex-servicemen using Drinkz App to meet up with other diggers at the RSL”.

app interface

For Cohan, Drinkz App is a concept that would allow him to transition into self-employment while utilising the experiences he gained in his military career. A passion project built on sheer drive, determination and motivation. “I have always had an interest in technology” says Cohan, and Drinkz App is not his first venture. In 2009 Cohan set up a directory website for private domestic cleaners, and although it was ultimately unsuccessful, the experience taught him countless crucial lessons which provide the foundation for his company today.

It’s no doubt that Cohan has a strong sense of value and appreciation for business, “One of the greatest challenges I have experienced is business in trust. I have gained values throughout my military service and actively live my life through values such as honour, honesty, courage, loyalty and integrity.” Creating a culture within his business is more important than focusing on aspects of “businesses that are only driven by the mighty dollar” says Cohan. That strong focus on ‘heading out for a drink with friends’ is something that resonates across all Australian cultures, which so far has allowed him to tap into the lives’ of everyday Australians.

“Most people think it would be easy developing an app…this is a misconception”

From concept to creation, the process covered the better part of two years. Cohan designed the app over a period of six months, with the original build taking twelve months due to additional features and cost reductions. In September 2016 Drinkz App formed a new tech partnership with Brisbane-based app development company Digital8. Cohan and the team rebuilt the whole app, with a brand new user interface with additional features. New servers have also increased the capacity and speed of use. The rebuild took three months, and Cohan credits the development to the expertise and professionalism of the Digital8 team.

However Cohan certainly does not admit the process has been easy. “Most people think it would be easy developing an app…this is a misconception. The fact is that it costs much more after you launch an app than the initial development cost” says Cohan.

The initial step was the design which Cohan built on his iPad, using an app called Blueprint. His next step was finding developers, and what was initially going to be an overseas outsourcing project, Cohan found a local provider for the job who thought the concept had substance and provided a payment plan to suit his budget. Once the final builds were complete, Cohan and his team conducted beta testing with real world users to gain feedback and legitimise the concept.

Struggling with imperfections in the app, Cohan realised he had to be comfortable with them otherwise the app would simply never launch, and eventually released the app as a concept version with further development plans in the future.

One of Drinkz App’s greatest setbacks was a change in developers after launching the original version. With no experience in coding, Cohan was completely reliant on the knowledge and expertise of his original developer. Cohan says, “While the overall cost was low compared to the majority of apps with similar complexity, further development costs quoted were exorbitant”, and for Cohan, that is where the relationship quickly dissipated once the service agreement was complete.

Plans for the future already include further development and implementation of venue profiles, giving users access to venue information, ability to provide ratings and reviews, a check-in option and see if other ‘Drinkerz’ are in the venue. Over the next twelve months, goals for Cohan include securing further funding and establishing a strategic partnership with a local brewery or pub group.

 

Drinkz App is available for free on iOS and Android.

 

If you’re interested in establishing a partnership or looking to invest, get in contact with Rod Cohan at rod@drinkz.com.au

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