Bridge better connects beverage alcohol suppliers to consumers.
Tampa, Fla. – November 13, 2019 – Florida Funders, a venture capital fund and crowd-funding platform providing early-stage capital to Florida companies, today announced the fundraising total of $917,000 in Tampa-based Bridge, formerly known as Proof Network, which is closing the information gap between beverage alcohol suppliers and their consumers. The Florida Funders Impact Fund provided $500,000 of the capital with the remaining $417,000 coming from Florida Funders accredited investor network.
Alex Miningham, founder and CEO of Bridge, told Embarc Collective in a March 2019 interview, “Our vision for Bridge is to become the authoritative leader for all data, insights and trends in the beverage alcohol industry. In order to accomplish that, we need to rapidly scale our SaaS products across more retail stores so that we increase the quantity of first-party data within our ecosystem.”
Bridge, formally Proof Network, was born out of a decades-long frustration for the beverage alcohol industry. The federally mandated “Three Tier System” that was put in place at the end of Prohibition in 1933 creates a disconnect between suppliers and the end consumer. Under the tiered system, suppliers are prohibited from selling directly to retailers. Instead, they must sell their products to distributors, who in turn sell to retailers. This system has frustrated efforts by suppliers to fully understand their end consumers, and thereby be able to better target their advertising dollars.
Bridge addressed this frustration by creating Bridge Retail, a web and mobile e-commerce application that allows retailers to sell beer, wine and liquor to consumers. The application allows retailers to offer their full brick-and-mortar inventory catalog to consumers on the go. The application also integrates with retailers’ point-of-sale systems through an API, allowing Bridge to also collect data on in-store transactions.
The treasure trove of online and offline data that Bridge collects is packaged with third party demographic and psychographic data and sold to alcohol brands via the Bridge Intelligence platform which includes an analytics and insights component as well as an audience segmentation solution. These services ultimately allow brands to better understand the end-consumer so they can deliver more targeted and effective advertising campaigns.
“Bridge is the first company we’ve seen who can bring critical consumer data to the wholesalers, suppliers and retailers to offer them insights needed to better manage their products, inventory, and sales force,” said Tom Wallace, managing partner for Florida Funders. “Beverage companies that use Bridge have a huge advantage over their competition.”