Many startup founders are renowned for their failure stories, but you might be hard pressed to find one across the Australian startup landscape who tells theirs with as much good humour as Vinomofo’s Andre Eikmeier.
Despite his long journey to launching Vinomofo being a difficult and sometimes even sad one – he told of his wife having her credit card declined in line with their two young children at the grocery store – Eikmeier spoke candidly at the recent Sunrise conference, keeping the audience laughing as he tried in vain to get through a 52 slide PowerPoint presentation.
The journey to launching Vinomofo started in the mid-2000s when Eikmeier, who studied accounting at university before becoming a mostly unemployed actor, ventured into launching a business. He teamed up with his brother-in-law Justin Dry and they tried to make a number of different models work before coming up with the eventual winner.
Launched in Adelaide in 2011, Vinomofo famously went through a last minute pre-launch name change as well as a 2013 buy back of the majority share of the company sold to Catch Group the year before.
All the stronger and wiser for the experience, the startup has stepped things up a notch in 2016. After raising $25 million in its first external funding round from Blue Sky Venture Capital in April, Vinomofo is now preparing to launch its international expansion through a ‘lite’ model offering.
This will entail a series of online pop-up wine events around Asia and New Zealand, which can all be managed from Australia, thereby reducing risk and cost and enabling a quick launch. After a period of trial and testing in these markets, those which show the greatest traction will be pursued further, taking good wine and the Vinomofo brand and ‘Do Good’ ethos global.