Editor’s note: Innovation Thursday is a regular feature in WRAL TechWire that focuses on emerging companies, entrepreneurs and technologies across North Carolina, and today we feature a Wilmington startup.
The company expects widespread adoption, enough to already be planning to hire at least 20 additional full-time staff members within the next 16 months.
“This industry has been underserved by technology. Seeing the challenges firsthand and not being able to solve them was unacceptable to me as a consultant and technology advocate,” said Natalie Waggett, co-founder and CEO at Ohanafy, in a statement.
According to Waggett, the company began as a passion project, but now, Waggett refers to it as a “passion product.”
That product is built on the Salesforce platform and is designed to help craft beverage manufacturers “drive revenue and reduce expenses,” Waggett said in the statement.
The company is self-funded, thus far, with five founding team members and one full-time employee that will head the company’s customer success team.
But the company is projecting growth, with expectations to grow the company’s roster of full-time employees by 20 new hires by the end of 2023, said Davis Bryson, one of the company’s co-founders, in an interview with WRAL TechWire.
How Wilmington startup Ohanafy began
Bryson told WRAL TechWire that the company’s origins stem from mixing lifelong friendships, decades of consulting experience, and passion for helping small business owners.
Waggett and co-founder Ian Padrick worked together for more than a decade across industries, advising and consulting small, mid-sized, and large businesses and operators bolster their operational capacity using Salesforce.
But then, a childhood friend approached Waggett, noting that there were particular pain points that existed for brewery operators like her.
Waggett thought she and Padrick could help. Meet Ohanafy, loosely translated as “to make family,” according to Bryson.
Now, the company will roll out its Brewery Management System. The platform that the company has built is in response to the disappointment in existing products available to manage supply and demand within the same architecture.
“We were disappointed with a brewery operator’s inability to manage supply and demand in the same system,” said Bryson. “For them, producing great beer is only one of the many things they must do to be successful. They must also market, sell, distribute, and repeat.”
Why wasn’t there a product that enabled all of this?
The product will be sold through subscription, and the company’s customers will release updates and new features at least three times each year, Bryson noted. The subscription service will also come with a quarterly business review that’s conducted by the startup’s customer success team.
Digging into product
The company describes the product as a craft beverage operating system, or CBoS, or a vertical ERP solution designed specifically for craft beverage manufacturers.
And it’s designed to help brewery operators manufacture and produce their products with the lowest possible costs at the highest possible margins, and all throughout, manage the relationships with distributors, customers, prospects, investors, and employees.
The team built the system on top of Salesforce due to the extensive experience of the co-founders, across the platform’s capabilities.
“With a staggering 19 Salesforce certifications, our entire team can build, iterate, design, and architect on the platform which ensures we can deliver feature and function quickly without having to learn the nuances of a very broad platform,” said Bryson. “We can quickly roll out new feature and functionality with way less effort than building on a fully custom platform.”
The team is focused on developing only the specific features that can optimize, streamline, or improve operations for craft beverage companies and operators, said Bryson.
According to Bryson, the firm already has early adopters, and has established a customer advisory board.
“Ohanafy founders have grown up seeing the challenges of being a small business first hand in our many entrepreneurial pursuits and we are so proud of our business model designed to bring affordable purpose built technology to Main Street to the manufacturing facilities that fuel a lot of economic growth in the areas they are located,” said Bryson.