News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Over 2000 Angels help raise $1 million for Wine Maker


Naked Wines Australia has announced that they have reached a significant milestone in just 3 months since launching: recruiting over 2000 Angels [‘Naked Wines Angels* are customers who invest each month the amount of $40 which is transferrable and redeemable for wine purchasing in future orders and receive a further discount of 25% – 50% off when they buy wines] resulting in $1million in funds for direct investment in Australian winemakers.

The company launched in Australia in July this year, following the successful operation in the UK, making it the UK’s fastest growing online wine retailer. Naked Wines sets itself apart from its competitors as it reverses the traditional wine business model within a very competitive Australian wine market.

“We took a chance and entered a market dominated by the big Australian supermarkets and did so with a completely new and innovative business model” says Luke Jecks, Managing Director of Naked Wines Australia. “Entering such a cluttered market was a risk but we knew we needed to take the muscle out of the hands of the behemoths and put it back in the hands of the consumer. This risk has paid off with customers totally embracing our concept”.

Naked Wines uses crowd funding (Angels) to finance winemakers which not only enables the winemaker to focus on quality, but also reduces the overall costs of wine production. Naked Wines then passes the cost reductions back to the Angels (typically generating between 25% and 50% discounts). A virtuous circle.

The Naked Wines business model is also about interaction, enabling consumers to chat to one another and with the actual winemaker. The customer interaction has been phenomenal; to date customers have logged over 6,000 ratings and posts on the Naked Wines website and mobile apps. The Facebook page has also achieved wide appeal with over 4,300 likes, positioning them well ahead of established competitors.

Naked Wines entered the Australian market with an initial kitty of $1.5 million to invest in Aussie winemakers. Half of the $1.5 million has already been invested in seven winemakers from different regions of Australia to help them develop their business and go it alone. They include Sam Plunkett, Adrian and Rebecca Santolin, Hamish Maguire, Brian Fletcher, Jock Harvey, Jen Pfeiffer and Geoff Merrill.

“It’s great to be able to talk direct with consumers,” says one of their winemakers Sam Plunkett “I think people enjoy knowing where the wines are made and that there is a winemaker who thinks ‘this wine is my baby’. It’s a stark contrast to the impersonal buyers own brands driving the big wine retailers at the moment. One is wine made with care by a winemaker proud to put their name to it, the other is just a commodity” comments Sam.

Over the next six months Naked Wines Australia will go in search of 13 more winemakers to fund. They also offer an alternative channel to market, direct interaction with customers and followers, cash flow, investment and the freedom to make wine the very best way they can.


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