Vinomofo, an Australian boutique wine e-retailer, has raised $25 million from Blue Sky Ventures.
According to the AFR, it’s the single biggest funding round raised by an Australian tech start-up, without the assistance of an overseas investor, to date.
The funding will be used to boost local growth and support operations in overseas markets, following the launch of the company’s “lite” business model.
“Vinomofo wants everyone to be able to experience good wine – that’s our mission,” said co-founder and joint CEO Andre Eikmeier.
“From what we’ve seen across the past five years in Australia, we believe that a lot of people all over the world need Vinomofo – wine lovers and makers alike, and this investment is going to help us bring our vision to life.”
Vinomofo has doubled its turnover in the past 12 months, and is on track to surpass $50 million in annual revenue this financial year.
“Now it’s time to take our offer to the next level in Australia, and to the world,” Eikmeier said.
Eikmeier and co-founder Justin Dry launched the lite business model in order to reach new markets faster, and in a more cost efficient way.
“If you go all in on one market, you need to see traction and you need to see it grow and start to turn money over toward profitability, so you can take that investment and put it into a new market,” Dry previously told Business Insider.
“[Using it we could] roll out in 10 countries straight away, where we can test each of those markets to see how they took up our proposition.
“It also meant that for the same amount of money we could test all of those markets to see if there’s traction and follow that with teams on the ground.”
The lite rollout was funded internally, and this latest injection of cash — also the first time Vinomofo has taken venture capital investment — will be used for domestic growth.
Dr Elaine Stead, investment director at Blue Sky Venture Capital, says Vinomofo’s huge scope to scale globally made is an attractive investment.
“This is why we have started fundraising for a $200 million fund, as we are now coming across companies that need at least $20 million to execute on their expansion plans,” Dr Stead said.
The funding round wasn’t always on the cards for Vinomofo, but once the lite model was up and running and the pair were looking at what was next, funding to grow locally, and then globally was the next obvious step to make.
“We certainly haven’t rushed into this decision to raise. We’ve valued our independence, and our culture is at the heart of what we’ve built. When it became clear to Justin and I that a raise was the right thing to do strategically, finding the right partner was paramount, and Blue Sky emerged as a clear fit,” said Eikmeier.
“We’re also really proud the entire raise was funded here in Australia, with an Australian partner. It’s a good sign for the future of our start-up and growth company eco-system.”
Since launching in a garage in Adelaide in 2011, the company has grown to a 100-strong operation, with 425,000 members, selling 30,000 cases monthly.
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