Keg rental business Konvoy is expanding into New Zealand after launching less than six months ago.
Founded by Adam Trippe-Smith last year, Konvoy already has 40,000 kegs in circulation and has now teamed up with ParrotDog to help them launch an office in Auckland.
“We were planning to launch in New Zealand this year, in 2020, and obviously get Australia up and running first but an opportunity came up with the boys at ParrotDog, who we know well,” Trippe-Smith explained.
“We went over and pitched to them later last year and we were successful, so that meant we were starting in New Zealand straight away.
“We kicked off with them in January. We’ve got one employee in New Zealand, we’ve set up an office in Auckland, we’re officially operating in New Zealand with two customers and hopefully a lot more to come.”
Trippe-Smith said the move was due to good response from the market.
“The response has been good, we’re delighted where we’re at. We’re approaching 50 beverage companies, predominantly breweries, and so given that we only started renting our first keg in October, to have close to 50 new customers is fantastic,” he said.
“There is obviously more to go and I think the market itself is the winner. They’re delighted to see a second player in the market and a third in New Zealand.
“It’s making everyone compete harder and ultimately the market wins.”
In addition to the expansion, Zlatko Todorcevski has joined the board as chair, taking up his position in February 2020. He is well known to the Konvoy team.
“Zlatko was CFO of Brambles, and was the one I started the Kegstar-Brambles deal with. He was previously on the board of Kegstar too, so I know him very well,” said Trippe-Smith.
“He’s since retired from executive life when he left Brambles in 2017, and is on a number of notable boards.”
Todorcevski is currently on the boards of Coles, Star Entertainment and Adelaide Brighton.
“He’s on great boards but he’s also got deep asset pooling experience and he gets the global keg market, having been at Kegstar and Brambles.
“He was a natural fit. We did a capital raise late last year and got that away successfully, as part of that I wanted to introduce a chair that could internally be a mentor and someone for me, but also the broader team to bounce ideas and issues off on strategy.
“Also to add a layer of governance to the business given we’ve got shareholders, and make it as professional as we can which can only be a good thing, no matter how big or small you are.”
At the moment, the Konvoy team is focusing on retrofitting its kegs with its proprietary technology.
“We’ve been through three rounds of beta testing, and now we’re in commercial production.
“We will be starting the retrofit in early May, we’ve done the testing and development in the local market, and the whole coronavirus thing is putting everyone on edge and generally slowing everything down, but so far we remain on track.
“Touch wood everything stays like that, but to be pragmatic we might see things slow down globally.”
He said that COVID-19 is causing a global slowdown, and the Konvoy team are keeping a close eye on the situation.
“Big business as well as startups are going to be impacted, and no doubt those large organisations will have to really look at it in detail and hopefully we can tap into a few learnings about that from Zlatko.
“In tough times, certain things tend to be as stable as they can be – and people still do tend to drink beer in both good and bad economic times.
“We will offer what we consider is the best customer service and experience, just keep doing our thing, and ultimately the beverage producers will decide whether they want to work with us or not, but so far so good.”