Start-ups

NakedWines.com lands $10 million

According to CEO Rowan Gormley NakedWines.com is a way to make “rich people’s wines affordable to normal people.”

Would you buy wine from this man and his virtuous circle?

Would you buy wine from this man and his virtuous circle?

Even though SI HQ is based here in Silicon Valley, we don’t write often about venture capital or financing rounds. However, this one caught my eye for one simple reason: it involves a wine start-up. There’s not many headlines about nascent wine businesses receiving valuations, getting acquired or landing VC money.

But, here we are, with NakedWines.com, who just scored a $10 million round.

The five year old online retailer will reportedly use the money to back international expansion.

Either brilliant, or possibly disturbing, is the so-called “virtuous circle” business model the company employs, whereby “funds from regular customers (called ‘Angels’) are invested into independent winemakers, in exchange for exclusivity and wholesale pricing – typically 40-60% below retail prices. ”

SNEAK PEEK: Sonoma Wine Country Weekend (Video)

According to CEO Rowan Gormley it’s a way to make “rich people’s wines affordable to normal people.”

Last year the company generated $60 million in revenue, and $1.5 million in profit. Formidable numbers for such a a young company.

The “customer-funded winery” employs a bit of that trendy self-deprecating humor in its promotional videos that we’ve seen perhaps used too often of late. Then again, they can certainly help break the typically mundane ad rotation.

WATCH: How NakesWines.com works

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Clinton Stark
Clint is based in San Francisco and co-founded Stark Insider - a new media venture. His goal was to help fill the increasing gap in arts coverage. This site has consumed his every fiber. Yet, he still has time to talk Napa wine, review a play (ATCA member) or live show, and shoot videos. More: Clint's story...