7th July, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
Crowdfunding wine retailer Naked Wines has reported 40% sales growth for its 2013 financial year to hit £53 million, with its UK operation nearly doubling profits.
Naked Wines founder Rowan Gormley
The company, which was founded in 2008 and allows “Angels” to invest in winemakers in return for cheaper wine deals, attributed this significant growth to a 50% increase in the number of these Angels to 220,000. This punches well above the 185,000 investors that Naked Wines calculates is required for its venture to break even.
The company’s dramatic growth was largely derived from its newer operations in Australia and the US, where it expanded in 2012. However the UK arm reported its second year of profitability in convincing style, almost doubling profits to just under £2m.
Such has been the rate of expansion that last month Naked Wines warned that it might need to temporarily put a halt to signing up new Angels over fears that the business might not be able to supply enough wine for investors.
Through its Angels, the company is now investing over £5m each month in winemaking enterprises. To date, it has provided funding for over 135 winemakers in 13 countries and currently ships around 25,000 bottles to customers each day.
Last year saw the Norwich-based firm launch a “fine wine development unit”, funded by the £5m proceeds of its Naked Wines Fine Wine Bond. It also recruited Matt Parish, former vice-president and chief winemaker for the Americas at Treasury Wine Estates to the role of chief winemaker, running Naked Wines’ new customer-funded winery in Sonoma and advising producers who receive investment from the business.
Commenting on a year of “strong profitable growth”, Rowan Gormley, founder and CEO of Naked Wines, said: “Since we started the company five years ago, Naked Wines has revolutionised the way wine is financed, made and sold.
“We have created a business that enables talented and ambitious wine makers across the globe to receive the funding they need to create the wines they dream of – and share them with an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.
“In the year ahead we have some truly great wines to offer our Angels that I believe will lead to another year of strong growth.”