The intersection of food and technology is a growing one, as more companies are trying to hack that final connection between consumers and their food, both in terms of delivery of products and meals and in terms of ease of dining reservations and shopping list management.
But for the entrepreneurial beverage and food suppliers themselves, there’s at least one new company that’s seeking to help them manage their ability to make sure their products are positioned properly in stores. Repsly, a cloud-based mobile software company that received a $1.25 million infusion of cash from First Beverage Ventures and Launchpad, has a platform that will allow the armies of field representatives to better calibrate brand performance and track their interactions with their retailers.
Field representatives, those “feet on the street” who support brands in geographic markets, have long filled out stacks of retailer reports or used spreadsheets to keep track of account data like in-store pricing and on-shelf positioning. With Repsly, according to Tom First, the Managing Partner with First Beverage Ventures, a field representative is able to send a picture of the brand on-shelf back to a supervisor upon first entering a store, and add contemporaneous notes and fulfill workflow requirements as they progress through the account.
Repsly, which until recently was known as Salespod, was co-founded by Marko Kovac and Marko Linke, and features a team of engineers based largely in their native Croatia.
“We are extremely excited to be partnered with First Beverage,” Kovac, the company’s CEO, said in a press release. “First Beverage brings the capital that we need to expand our market reach, but more importantly, provides us with deep insight to what is truly important to field operations in the beverage industry, our fastest growing sector.”
Indeed, the company seeks to offer real-time transparency from field representatives back to sales managers and CMOs – thereby shoring up the front lines of retail execution.
While there are plenty of software companies that help turn a lead into a sale, First said, “The challenge for food and beverage companies is that we want to know what’s going on in the field. The needs of a food or beverage company, in terms of the workflow, are a little particular. You’re servicing a company on a repeated level, setting a shelf for a customer on a regular basis, asking them if they want additional SKUs, tracking pricing.”
Repsly is available as a subscription-based software application for mobile devices; First praised its easy setup and its ability to make an entire account’s history available to users for the purpose of order maintenance or expansion. He has seen it up-close, as two of First Beverage Ventures’ portfolio companies, Purity Organic and Health-Ade, both use the software, as do independent brands like energy drink company Guru and juice company Raaw.
“It’s really exciting what these guys have built,” First added. “So many reps right now, they’re either still using a yellow pad or some system that’s been custom-built for their organization.”
Full Press Release is below:
First Beverage Ventures Makes Investment in Repsly
Los Angeles, CA – June 17, 2014 – First Beverage Ventures, the private equity arm of First Beverage Group, today announced that it has made an investment in Repsly, a field team management and field sales enablement software company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We have been interested in the work that Repsly has been doing for several years and are thrilled to now be a part of the company,” said Tom First, Managing Partner of First Beverage. “Marko Kovac, together with his team, has created a breakthrough solution to give companies real time visibility to their work in the field. Any beverage company or food company that values field execution will benefit from this innovative mobile solution. ”
Repsly, formerly known as Salespod, is a mobile application that manages the activities of field representatives and the data that they collect. Repsly targets organizations with field representatives that visit a set of existing customers on a recurring basis to perform some activity, such as taking replenishment orders, merchandising products on retail shelves, marketing for referrals, or performing regular maintenance. These organizations use Repsly to drive higher accountability and efficiency within their field teams, and to gather and analyze data generated by these reps about everything from product performance, to competitive actions and customer demographics.
“We are extremely excited to be partnered with First Beverage,” said Marko Kovac, CEO and co-founder of Repsly. “First Beverage brings the capital that we need to expand our market reach, but more importantly, provides us with deep insight to what is truly important to field operations in the beverage industry, our fastest growing sector.”
About First Beverage Group
First Beverage Group advises and invests in innovative and transformational beverage brands. Through our investment bank and private equity fund, we help beverage companies grow and stand out in a dynamic and competitive industry. We form true partnerships with our clients by leveraging both our financial and intellectual capital. Headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in Boston and New York, the First Beverage team is made up of entrepreneurial senior beverage executives with over 200 years of collective industry experience. For more information, please visit the company’s website, www.firstbev.com.
Repsly, Inc. is a business-to-business software as a service (SaaS) company focused on providing a solution to simplify processes for field teams and their managers. With customers in over 30 countries, Repsly targets organizations with field reps that visit a set of existing customers on a recurring basis to perform some sort of function, such as taking replenishment orders, merchandising products on retail shelves, marketing for referrals, or performing regular maintenance. Deployed by leading global brands as well as innovative start-ups, Repsly enables these organizations to improve the efficiency of their field teams, and greatly simplifies the collection and analysis of field data. As a result, Repsly’s solution helps organizations create a tight connection between the field and back-office operations. Founded in 2010, Repsly is headquartered in Boston. For more information please visit the company’s website, www.repsly.com.