NakedWines.com, the customer-funded online wine retailer, has raised $10 million in a third round of investment from WIV Wein International AG, a German group of direct wine-selling companies and founder shareholder. NakedWines.com will use its new funding to accelerate the company’s expansion into the U.S. and Australia.
Based in Norwich, England, NakedWines.com’s business model allows customers to sponsor independent winemakers in return for about 25% to 50% off a wine’s retail price and exclusive promotions. The site currently has 150,000 Angels (customers who fund winemakers) who have invested over $40 million in 130 winemakers around the world and ships over 10 million bottles of wine each year.
Sales grew to over $50 million in 2012, the year the company declared its maiden profit of $1.5 million (which it says was distributed to staff “as a thank you for working their nuts off.”)
Naked Wines was launched in Britain in 2008 by Rowan Gormley (the former CEO of Virgin Money and Virgin Wines) and became available to buyers in the U.S. and Australia last year.
In a statement, Gormley said: “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.”