Because I am a
conessueir conneseur lover of fine wines, cordials, spirits, toner, rubbing alcohol, and cooking sherry, I find myself often dealing with entrepreneurs who are focused on the selection and sale of these fine beverages. Luckily, these websites are getting better and better. Take Likelii, for example. The team there has created a sort of Pandora for booze, building a unique DNA for almost every brand they sell and recommending wines based on your personal preference.
Likelii is co-founded by Radhika Dutt and Jennifer Joyce, both from MIT and both successful entrepreneurs. Their CTO worked at Rockband Harmonix before that whole fad died out. Luckily, alcohol is often addictive so he’ll always be in a job.
The site is quite simple: you type in your favorite wine brand, varietal, or style (dry, red, flammable) and Likelii gives you a few bottles as well as a score that suggests how much you’re going to like it. What the site is doing, said Dutt, is using our tendency to buy the same wines over and over again to our advantage.
“It all started when my husband and I were drinking wine late one evening. We both agreed that critics ratings had no bearing on what we liked and realized we were buying the same wines over and over! Turns out that most consumers describe doing the same thing. A search for something that would meet my needs as a consumer turned into market research and then our start-up,” she said.
She is not impressed with the old Parker score, either. “Sometimes when we get really adventurous, we look to critics’ ratings, Or if you get adventurous and try something new, you might look to the shelf talkers – ’91 points’ it might read. These numerical wine ratings give false comfort, sounding so precise and scientifically accurate. But what are these ratings based on? How is taste measured?”
She says Likelii is the Netflix of wines.
“The algorithms look at characteristics of the wines you like and what others are drinking and give you recommendations after analyzing about 1M data points. And as it gathers more data about your tastes, the recommendations continue to get better,” she said. Likelii also launched a cute Facebook game, likeliitocost. It shows you bottle labels and asks you how much you think the tipple will cost.
The group raised $450,000 through angel investors and they’re looking at some interesting numbers. While users who visit wine stores buy two bottles on average, Likelii has been selling 5 or so per customer, an impressive feat.
While I doubt this will ever keep me from drinking anything and everything put in front of me, perhaps it will allow me to be a bit more selective when it comes to the nectar that will take me soaring into the depths of sweet, sweet oblivion.