Entrepreneur Stories: Pubinno

FROM OGGUSTO - We talked about his entrepreneurship story with Can Algül, the co-founder of Pubinno, which won first place in the "Best Technology Innovations" category of the Food Bev Awards organized by Food Bev Media.

What brought you to the startup world in the first place?

While my youth was in different pursuits, being elected to Akbank Thought Club was a turning point for me. The theme of the year I was elected was digitalization. We did research and prepared projects... During this process, for the first time in my life, I learned very useful information about the concept of Design Thinking and about developing something; “The shortest definition of innovation is finding a non-existent bond between two existing things…” There was beer, there was the internet. We developed the "Internet of Beer" by establishing a connection between these two.

Can you tell us the story of the birth of the idea of Pubinno?

One day, during my university days, I was studying fluid mechanics. After a while, I stopped studying and started dreaming. There was Küçük Beyoğlu at that time. You know Küçük Beyoğlu; Dozens of people wait in line… Based on this, I developed the idea of a digital bar chain called Digipubs, where there are beer taps at every table. I also resolved the issue regarding financing. However, with the alcohol regulations in April 2013, all investments in the sector came to a halt. The Digipubs project was also shelved. But it caused the Pubinno story to begin.

During this period, I met my partner Necdet and we started working on our first product, BeerPoint. To briefly summarize Beerpoint, it is a draft beer vending machine where the end consumer buys his own beer with prepaid cards. We took the first BeerPoint out of production in August 2015. This product was showcased on the important beaches of Çeşme. In February 2016, we launched the first "tap", Taptronics (the previous version of Smart Tap), at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress. After a demo with Heineken in Madrid, we received investment from Alchemist, Silicon Valley's most important B2B accelerator program, in May 2016. And ultimately Pubinno, Inc. It was founded in San Francisco.

In 2019, Smart Taps went out of mass production. In November 2019, we launched Smart Tap in Germany at Brauviale, the world's most important beverage innovation fair. In June 2021, we launched Smart Clean, the world's first artificial intelligence-based automatic beer line cleaning device.

Finally, we announced our new product, Pubinno Selection, last quarter. Pubinno Selections is a map showing excellent draft beer spots in Turkey with instant data from all Pubinno locations. We address perfect beer points to consumers by processing more than 10 parameters in real time, such as beer coldness, pressure, freshness and line cleanliness.

What are your goals with smart Pubinno taps?

Pubinno technologies are currently used in more than 2000 locations in 60 cities on 3 continents. We opened our Spain office in July 2022, Japan in December, and New York operations in October this year. In 2024, we will move from behind the bar to the front and have closer contact with the end consumer. We will continue to work until there is not a single poorly served draft beer left in the world.

On the other hand, according to the sustainability report prepared by SABMiller together with WWF, an average of 102.5 liters of water is consumed from the field to the end consumer to serve 1 liter of beer. According to the American Restaurant Association report, there is an average loss of 23% per barrel in the world. With Pubinno technologies, we save up to 20% per barrel. To date, we have served over 100 million glasses of excellent beer and saved over 1 billion liters of water.

We aim to save more than 10 billion liters of water in 2030, in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Where is Türkiye in the field of Food-Tech when compared to the world?

According to a current report in the field of Food-Tech by GOOINN (Good Innovation) Research Center, which prepares large and comprehensive reports by examining the world's trend sectors; Food-Tech, which had a market of 220 billion dollars in 2019, is expected to increase to 342 billion dollars in 2027. Food-Tech initiatives; It is becoming increasingly important due to the pandemic, logistical difficulties, especially the climate crisis and many other reasons.

There is increasing interest in this field in Turkey. For this reason, the need for safe food, sustainable production and smart logistics systems is increasing. But there is still a long way to go…

This year, we entered the Forward Fooding Top 500 list, to which thousands of Food-Tech companies from various countries of the world applied. We were the only startup from Turkey to enter the TOP 5 list in the Agritech/Food Tech category at Europas, Europe's most prestigious start-up competition.

What are the difficulties of establishing a start-up company in Turkey? Are there any obstacles you encounter?

Entrepreneurship is a challenging and bumpy journey all over the world, but it is also instructive and exciting. Normally, mass production is the valley of death for those in the hardware business. 90% of hardware start-ups get stuck in the mass production phase and the business can go to the point of bankruptcy. We are a technology and data company, not a manufacturer. At this point, we made a production partnership agreement with Karal, one of the largest and most established manufacturers in the region. Karel is both our investor and production partner. Türkiye has recently been launching initiatives that have attracted attention all over the world. There are difficulties, of course, but entrepreneurship is the art of finding solutions by embracing all difficulties and obstacles.

What is the most important advice you would give to those who dream of becoming entrepreneurs?

My biggest advice to those who dream of entrepreneurship is to pursue their ideas without fear, not to give up in failure, read a lot, ask a lot, research a lot, set their goals on a global scale, and be aware that the road is very long when establishing partnerships. Türkiye is of course a big market, but what we really need is to develop business models that export technology to the world.


Pubinno and its innovative beer tap that facilitates payment through mobile devices, cards and cryptocurrencies


Pubinno's smart beer tap arrives in Barcelona