LAUNCHPAD: Naked Wines reveals $10m cash injection

The UK-based wine seller has secured funding for overseas expansion

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 18 Nov 2013

Naked Wines, the online wine marketplace-cum-social network-cum-crowdfunding platform, has reeled in a thirst-quenching $10m to help fund its expansion plans.

The platform, which started out as an online wine retailer, has launched into the crowdfunding space, allowing customers to invest in winemakers in exchange for discounts and exclusive access to wines.
Naked Wines has so far ploughed £25m into as many as 130 international winemakers.

'We’re in business to make rich people’s wines affordable to normal people,' said chief executive and founder Rowan Gormley (who left his City job to start Virgin Money in Richard Branson’s son’s bedroom and later founded Virgin Wines)

'By funding winemakers, so that they can focus on making great wine, rather than selling it, we do just that. WIV’s latest investment will really help us step up the quality of our wines in a way that our customers can taste.'

'Winemakers don’t get the recognition or the rewards they deserve, and we want to see that change. In the restaurant industry, individual chefs have become much more famous than the restaurant. We’re helping to do the same thing for the wine business.'

The investment will be used to help the platform expand into the US and Australia, where it has some 50,000 customers (with 150,000 users overall).

Founded in 2008, the platform became profitable last year making a tidy £1m – this year, it expects revenues of £35m. The investment has come from WIV Wein International, a German wine seller, which has already invested £9m in the business over two previous rounds and owns roughly two-thirds of the business.

‘We’ve been in the wine business for 60 years, in 24 countries around the world, and Naked Wines’ business model is the biggest revolution we have seen,’ Andreas Pieroth, joint managing director of WIV Wein International.

Viva la vino revolution, we say.

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