D2C winery Winc’s equity crowdfunding campaign Winc Shares is closing today. The company launched Winc Shares on the platform SeedInvest in August of 2019 to raise its Series D funding round. At the time of this writing, the campaign had seven hours left to go and had raised $5.3 million.
If you’re not familiar, Winc is a winery that develops blends based off consumer data and trends. It sells D2C through tailored wine subscriptions, and also supplies its wine to over 4,400 retail and wholesale accounts. Prior to launching the Shares program Winc had raised $41.6 million.
The minimum investment for Winc Shares is $999 per investor. Each level includes perks of Winc credits and bottles of wine. With its new crowdfunded capital, Winc will launch a new “clean wine” brand as well as a line of saké over the next year. On its site, the company also states that it will acquire its first wine company in Q2 of 2020.
Equity crowdfunding has become a bit of a trend for startup companies in the food and drink world. GoSun, Small Robot Company, Miso Robotics, Mealthy and GOffee have all launched their own crowdfunding campaigns to let regular people buy a piece of their company. Winc’s campaign is one of the bigger and more successful, second in scope only to Miso, which is hoping to raise a whopping $30 million Series C round through equity crowdfunding (its campaign is ongoing).
Equity crowdfunding appeals to startups who want greater control over their destiny. If they get all their money from individuals, they won’t be beholden to the intense pressures that can come with VCs — though that means they also don’t get the connections and advice that comes from working alongside venture firms. Considering that Winc’s whole shtick is that it makes wine geared towards the palates of everyday people, not wine critics, it makes sense that the startup would choose to go the equity crowdfunding route.
One thing to note: the recent COVID-19 outbreak is throwing a wrench into the entire food and drink ecosystem, affecting everyone from farmers to restauranteurs. It’s too soon to tell if the coronavirus will negatively affect Winc specifically. But one thing’s for sure: Winc’s campaign is ending none too soon. With so many people losing their jobs, equity crowdfunding may be one of the areas that struggles in our new COVID reality.