“Today marks the launch of Sketchbook Ventures with the successful sale of its first investment, online wine deals site Vinomofo, to a consortium of private investors for an undisclosed sum. The founders  – Andre Eikmeier, Justin Dry and Leigh Morgan still maintain a majority stake in Vinomofo and will lead the business through its next phase of growth”.

Startup Daily wrote that about Vinomofo in 2013 and over the last few years the company has grown into a entity that now does over $50 million in revenue, has over 425,000 subscribers, is enjoying 100 percent year on year growth and recently raised another $25 million in funding to assist with its aggressive plans to conquer the Asian wine market.

That $25 million was its first external round of funding ever.

Of one thing we can be certain is that, after building the company, selling it, and then buying it back to “reinvigorate it” – the founders made a good decision.

“We’re now up to 120 people at Vinomofo,” said Dry. “We have a further 20 within Nourissh that we majority own and we launch the company in New Zealand on June 9th followed by Singapore and then the United States.”
Arguably one of Australia’s fastest growing startups, it has been so successful because it has changed the way that Australian consumers think about wine and purchase it. Since Dry and Eikmeier founded the company in 2011, it has garnered more than 75,000 monthly active users – that number is important and differs from subscribers. Those 75,000 users are responsible for the company being able to celebrate its first $50 million year.

Not a team to take a breather, Vinomofo is also getting quite aggressive with its overseas growth strategy into new markets.

“Our overseas expansion plan has changed quite dramatically,” said Dry. “We were going to go market by market and as opposed to doing that, we’ve now come up with a limited Vinomofo offering that we will take into several markets at the same time. We’ve started to launch [that] so they can taste Vinomofo around the world all at the same time.”

With Vinomofo famously all about its company culture, operating under the simple ethos of ‘Do Good’, Eikmeier said earlier this year in an interview with Startup Daily that he and Dry chose to partner with Blue Sky Venture Capital for the recent $25 million raise not only because of its strong track record, but its similar focus on culture.

“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,” he said.

“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 startup and growth company ecosystem.”

Dr Elaine Stead, investment director at Blue Sky Venture Capital, said Vinomofo is just one example of why the firm has begun raising a new $200 million fund.

She said, “Vinomofo is a great expression of the quality of deals that come through our doors. In just five years, Andre and Justin have built a cracking business with huge scope to scale globally, which is where we come in…we are now coming across companies that need at least $20 million to execute on their expansion plans.”

The best trait that Vinomofo possess as a company though would have to be the humble and giving approach to everyone from its founders; rivalling even the most philanthropic Silicon Valley operators.

As an outsider you really see this shine through it the company’s external “do good” style initiatives like ‘The very important Mofo Program.”

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Startup Daily