Business

BevSpot knocks back $5.25m in funding

Startup helps bars track, reorder liquor and supplies

Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar in the Back Bay is one of several Boston-area watering holes that use BevSpot.
Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/file 2010
Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar in the Back Bay is one of several Boston-area watering holes that use BevSpot.

Rory Crawford was a Harvard Business School student when he set up a 30-minute videoconference with one of the school’s entrepreneurs-in-residence, Ajay Agarwal, to discuss a startup idea last year.

Agarwal, an investor at Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures who splits his time between Massachusetts and California, remembers a “smart, aggressive, scrappy entrepreneur trying to bring cloud software to a massive but sleepy old-school industry.”

Fifteen months after that Skype chat, Agarwal is leading a $5.25 million funding round for Crawford’s startup BevSpot. The Boston company has 17 employees and plans to grow to 30 with the fresh funds.

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BevSpot makes a Web-based system that helps restaurants and bars take inventory of liquor and bar supplies. The system helps them figure out what is selling best and what isn’t moving, and reorder items as necessary.

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Crawford said the system can help businesses reduce the amount of inventory they keep on hand by 20 percent or more, freeing up capital for use elsewhere.

Crawford said BevSpot’s system is used by “around 100 restaurants and bars in Boston — up from about five in February.” Customers include Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar in the Back Bay, Foundry in Somerville, Oleana in Cambridge, and the Ames and Revere hotels in Boston.

He said the company still focuses its sales efforts on Greater Boston but it’s “planning and working to enter other markets toward the second half of this year.” BevSpot’s pricing starts at $149 per month.

Agarwal said that when he first spoke with Crawford, in March 2014, the entrepreneur expected his business to generate revenue from liquor distributors.

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“The next time I saw Rory . . . he had successfully shifted the focus of the business to the restaurants and bars,” Agarwal said.

Scott Kirsner can be reached at kirsner@pobox.com. Follow him
on Twitter @ScottKirsner and on betaboston.com.