"We've been saying it's like Spotify for coffee,” says Jerrold Poh, co-founder of UpShot. He launched the coffee subscription app six weeks ago with friend Vash Shabanipour. (Poh also helped found CoinJar, a Bitcoin payment app.)
It works like this: users pay $15 a week for unlimited coffee at participating cafes. They order as normal, but at the point where they'd usually pay, they open the app and pass their phone to the cashier. The cashier taps the right buttons, sends the order to UpShot, and the coffee is good to go. UpShot takes a 3 per cent commission to handle the process.
At $15 a week, it's a good deal. Even a one-per-workday drinker would benefit, provided each coffee costs about $4. But that's the introductory rate. At some point in the future, the weekly fee is set to rise to $25, a figure which could be harder for the average coffee drinker to eclipse.
Poh and Shabanipour have another 100 venues in their sights, which they plan to add in the coming months. Until then though, UpShot might find itself limited only to people who live or work in the immediate vicinity of those cafes.
The duo are also working on streamlining the process, so users can tap-and-go, rather than handing their phone to cashiers.
They started the process some eight months back, after being inspired by Uber. “That's one of those things where, until you use it, you don't realise what a game-changer it is," Poh says.