Public shows thirst for winery investment

Invivo Wines has become the latest producer to channel the power of crowdfunding, smashing a NZ$500,000 (£250,000) target within hours of making its equity offer.

InvivoThe New Zealand company, which is prepared to sell up to $2m-worth of equity, or a 20% stake, via crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect, plans to use the money to step up an expansion drive into in export markets.

With 24 days still to go, Invivo has currently attracted over $1.3m in investment – 265% over its original target ­– from 276 members of the public. It looks set to outstrip the current New Zealand crowdfunding record of $1.5m raised through the same platform for a company producing drones.

Having produced its first vintage in 2008, the business has been quick to adopt new ideas, launching a lower alcohol range in 2010 and a spritzer range in 2014. It already boasts UK chat show host Graham Norton as a shareholder, a relationship that has seen Invivo wines presented to celebrity guests including Gwyneth Paltrow and Will Smith.

Setting out their pitch to potential investors, founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron outlined their original mission to sell wine “in a way that would cut through the fluff that the traditional wine companies seem to love so much.”

Since 2011, the company has reported sales growth of 207% and currently derives 75% of its annual $5m turnover from exports. This latest initiative to accelerate growth became possible thanks to a relaxation of New Zealand securities legislation, which came into force last year.

Invivo is not the only wine business to have channelled the power of crowdfunding recently. Last year saw English wine, beer and cider producer Chapel Down smash its own target to give away 14% equity in exchange for £3.95m.

Another high profile offer came earlier this year from Burgundian producer Domaine Chanzy, whose private equity firm owner decided to use the Seedrs platform to conduct its Initial Public Offering (IPO). As an additional enticement, investors were offered discounts on the house’s wine.


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