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Is Wine The Next Frontier For Crowdsourcing?

If the success of Naked Wines is anything to go by, yes. The customer-funded wine e-retailer has raised $40 million from members so far.

Customer-funded wine e-retailer Naked Wines has raised a $10 million round from WIV Wein International AG to expand in the U.S. and Australia. Founded in 2008 in the U.K., Naked Wines has 150,000 customers, whose $40 monthly investments have totaled $40 million to date, helping 130 independent winemakers bring their wines to market.

CEO and founder Rowan Gormley told Fast Company he considers wine the next frontier for crowdsourcing. "We went into Oz because we found a great team who wanted to do a startup," he said. "Finding the right people is always the hardest part of any startup." The expansion to Australia is an interesting choice because the area has experienced a slump in U.S. wine imports since 2005. However, domestic sales of Australian wine totaled 104.8 million liters in the first quarter, a 3% increase from last year.

Before this latest round, WIV Wein International, Naked Wine's sole investor, had put $16 million into the startup. Selling wines at wholesale prices, Naked Wines ships 10 million bottles annually and saw $60 million in revenue last year.

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