- Getty Images / Ian Gavan
Now it’s an app for booze that’s drawing the star power, and the celebrities are supporting the app with their own money.
Hooch, a subscription-based app that gets you one “free” drink every day of the month with a $9.99 monthly subscription fee, is amassing a collection of celebrity backers, with Rosario Dawson becoming the latest investor.
Dawson was among the investors that pitched in on Hooch’s $5 million funding round that closed last week, according to a company spokesperson. Other investors in the round FJ Labs, Blue Scorpion Investments, and Revelis Capital.
Dawson, who starred Men in Black II and Eagle Eye, joins a list of celebrity investors in Hooch that already includes Shaun White and Russel Simmons.
A drink a day
The Hooch app is basically MoviePass but for drinking. Members sign up and can redeem a drink every day of the month in ten different cities and 450 venues around the globe.
Dawson was first introduced to the app at a charity event Hooch sponsored for CureBatten.org. Her and actor Scott Eastwood donned Hooch branded Santa hats, got behind the bar and started serving up free drinks on Hooch to everyone there. The next year, after a reintroduction from VC Blue Scorpion, the pair partnered up on the store launch of her fashion brand, Studio One Eighty Nine. Not long after, Blue Scorpion recommended she invest herself.
If you’ve ever bought a drink in a major city you know that the $9.99 membership fee is a steal. So how does Hooch makes money? It’s unclear, but it looks like the app is basically acting as a free promo service for bars. Customers are motivated to come in to get their “free” drink and end up staying and raking up tabs. In 2016, CEO Lin Dai told TechCrunch that members spent an average of $30-$40 at Hooch partner venues after getting their first free-ish drink. They also are scoring a lot of valuable data on their members, like what times of day are most popular for drinking in different cities, and purchasing trends of certain beverages.
Founded in 2014, Hooch has raised a total of $2.7 million so far. Cofounder Aleksey Kernes came up with the idea while working as a doorman for NYC’s Hotel Chantelle and watching people react to their free welcome drink. Everyone loves feeling like they are the savviest consumer in the room, scoring “freebies” for their smarts.
Bar hopping enthusiasts shouldn’t get too excited however – after redeeming your one drink of the day you have to wait until the next day to get another drink on Hooch, and you can’t just move to another partner bar for your second round.