Tech Lives and Videotape:First Opinion, Instacart and Brewdrop


The grocery delivery service based out of San Francisco, CA expanded to Austin this past May and you may never go to the grocery store again.

Offering 1-hour delivery from your nearest H-E-B, Central Market, Royal Blue, Costco, or Whole Foods (just added June 23rd), the startup company lets you select and check out grocery items from the convenience of your home via a web browser or app available on your Android or iOS device.

We’ve tried the service a few times already and are quickly attaching to the idea of delivered groceries as the new normal. The selection is pretty vast, and if you can’t find exactly what you need on the virtual aisles, you can leave a detailed comment to guide your personal shopper to the item when they are at the store. Some items are priced slightly higher than the grocery store, but comparing our in-store shopping receipt with Instacart’s, the difference was often less than 8% (which was more than worth it in our opinion for the convenience and unused gas).

Instacart orders only require a $10 minimum, and two-hour delivery for orders over $35 is $3.99 ($5.99 for two hours), but in our experience delivery was often even faster. If you’re a frequent shopper, you may find savings in their Instacart Express membership that includes free 2-hour delivery for a $99 annual fee. Instacart’s current promotion gives new members free delivery on their first order.



Brewdrop is the Instacart of booze, offering 30-minute delivery of beer, wine and liquor to your doorstep (you must be 21 and provide valid ID upon delivery).

The Austin based company promises to be the only alcohol delivery app in Texas (available only on iOS currently). Brewdrop partners with local retail stores and acts as TABC licensed deliverers under their liquor licenses.

The selection on beer and liquor is pretty wide and includes lots of local favorites like Real Ale, Hops & Grain, and Independence Brewing Co. (no Jester King though), and Tito’s, Deep Eddy, Starlite, Genius Gin and more. If you’re a wine connoisseur, however, you might be disappointed as the app offers just a handful of options for broad categories like Chianti, Malbec, Pinot Grigio, Rosé, and Sake.

Just like Instacart, the items are priced slightly higher than retail and a flat $4.99 delivery charge is assessed per delivery, which will likely limit the app’s use to large orders or events for most consumers. Despite those hangups, we’re excited that a delivery option is now available for beer/liquor here in Texas, and we look forward to seeing the company expand beyond the seven launch ZIP codes in Austin. Brewdrop looks to raise another $100,000 in funding in an upcoming angel investor round.


First Opinion

The First Opinion app is a peek into the future of health care. With backing from some high-profile Silicon Valley investors, founder and CEO McKay Thomas is attempting to modernize health care access through the use of our cell phones.

The new app matches you with a doctor based on your age and region, and then lets you text them for round-the-clock answers to your health questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In our trial run, each of us was assigned a different doctor – all based in India – and fitting the profile of the five medical doctors and twelve specialistis from the app’s website. The responses were quick, thorough, and friendly as we asked our personal doctors real questions on minor health concerns that we individually had (persistent heartburn, sore shoulders, skin irritation). We all received good information and peace of mind on our ailments, and the service worked surprisingly well – with the common gripe being that the doctors texted us back too much!

We don’t recommend First Opinion for replacing any formal type of health care or to supersede any advice you receive from traditional health care professionals, but instead view it as a personal assistant to information you might find on WebMD through a similar inquiry. The service is interesting, since we are seeing formal and recognized health care providers like Aetna adopting similar models.

The First Opinion app is free to download, and allows each user one free consultation (unlimited time and messaging) per month. Additional consults can be purchased in packages that cost as little as $12 for a set of three.


This article originally published in our Anniversary Issue. Click to download a free issue today!


Photography: Chris Perez

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