Bojago Philip James's Blog

4May/110

Lot18 and our $10m

So, we just announced that Lot18 raised its Series B financing. We raised $10m in total, with NEA as our lead investor. FirstMark Capital, our Series A lead, participated in this round. We added Tom Grossi from NEA, and Amish Jani from FirstMark to the Board, and Tony Florence also of NEA is now a board observer. Thats all from the press release announcing the funding.

We're very happy to have this done - suddenly my monday's are freer. NEA is a world class company, with deep ecommerce experience, especially via its notable and early investments in Diapers.com and Groupon. They are also the worlds largest VC, with $11bn, and are consistently named a top 5 VC globally. Tom and Tony are wicked smart, Tony was the partner on the Diapers.com investment and best of all, we've really enjoyed working with them through the process.

I don't remember when the last time a wine company raised 8-figures was, but it was probably one of wine.com's financings 5-6 years ago.

Cue bubble 2.0 talks.

This is the wine category after all, and its seen more than its share of carnage. Well over $100m was invested in Virtual Vineyards, Wine Shopper and Wine.com, those companies then coalesced into Wine.com and New Vine Logistics, who have raised more money, and the latter also went bankrupt around a year ago. Fun times. Its why we started out our VC pitches with a slide showing a graveyard. Always better to face the problems head on.

Thats also why our second slide talked about the regulatory environment.

Fundamentally things are different in 2011 than they were in 1996. Most importantly the laws are different, there's also been an ecommerce revival and people shop differently, thanks to a host of SaaS, logistics and other vendors there's now an infrastructure in place that makes scaling a business like ours easier, and there are more people drinking wine, and just being online now.

I'd learned from Snooth that it was possible to create a large community around wine online (Snooth has over 750,000 registered members now), and Lot18 is helping such people find and enjoy better wines.

We now have a team of 60, and we're growing very rapidly, we look forward to the increased visibility, praise and criticism that this money will provide. Roosevelt put it best in his "Man in the Arena" speech:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know."

With that, here's a partial list of the press we've received since monday:

Lot18 Raises More Cash to Sell Wine Online
New York Times (Bits)
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/lot18-raises-more-cash-to-sell-wine-online/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Mr. James said the company wanted to begin expanding its online selection, which is now largely limited to domestic vintners. The new money will go toward hiring international wine curators to help pick out selections to feature on the site, he said. In addition, the company will begin to sell other wine-related products, like stemware, tickets to wine events and even destination travel packages, to allow the company’s epicurean customers to meet winemakers in Napa, for example.

Syndicated on:
Tech-Chichttp://www.tech-chic.com/technology/bits-lot18-raises-more-cash-to-sell-wine-online.html
Wine Bazarhttp://www.winebazar.net/lot18-raises-more-cash-to-sell-wine-online/41111
Wine Newshttp://wine.tweetmeme.com/story/4910374759/lot18-raises-more-cash-to-sell-wine-online-firstmark-capital-new-york-venture-capital-investors-focused-on-early-stage-and-startup-technology-companies

The Daily Start-Up: Lot18 Toasts To $10M Staff
Wall Street Journal (Venture Capital Dispatch)
http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2011/05/03/the-daily-start-up-lot18-toasts-to-10m/?mod=google_news_blog

Flash-sales wine site Lot18 had an appropriate way to celebrate its $10 million Series B round with a case of Veuve Clicquot Rose celebratory champagne. The funding was planned once the six-month-old company, which provides deals on wines for subscribers, hit $1 million in monthly sales, a milestone it reached last month and a full nine months earlier than expected.

Lot18 Scores $10M Series B To Scale Flash-Sales Wine Site
VentureWire
https://www.fis.dowjones.com/WebBlogs.aspx?aid=DJFVW00020110502e753001rx&ProductIDFromApplication=&r=wsjblog&s=djfvw

Buoyed by wine lovers' thirst for unusual wines at a discount, flash sales wine site Lot18 has exceeded initial milestones and sealed a $10 million Series B round ahead of schedule. New Enterprise Associates led the round, with participation from existing investor FirstMark Capital, which led the Lot18's $3 million Series A round in November. Valuation was not disclosed.The infusion was planned once the six-month-old company hit $1 million in monthly sales--a milestone it reached last month and a full nine months earlier than expected.

6-Month-Old Startup Lot18 Closes $10 Million Series B Round
BusinessInsider
http://www.businessinsider.com/lot18-closes-10-million-series-b-round-from-nea-ventures2011-5

Last week we told you New York-based startup Lot18 was already doing $1 million+ in sales. Investors seem to be impressed with that figure, because the wine flash sales site just raised a $10 million Series B round. It took two months to round up the cash; investors include NEA Ventures and FirstMark Capital, which led the Series A round.

Syndicated on:
SF Chroniclehttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/05/02/businessinsider-lot18-closes-10-million-series-b-round-from-nea-ventures2011-5.DTL
Yahoo! Finance,  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/6MonthOld-Startup-Lot18-siliconalley-1240473713.html?x=0
Going Betahttp://www.goingbeta.com/2011/05/02/6-month-old-startup-lot18-closes-10-million-series-b-round-san-francisco-chronicle/
Equity Helpdeskhttp://www.equityhelpdesk.com/node/39887/related_links
StartupGaragehttp://www.startupgarage.in/blog/2011/05/02/6-month-old-startup-lot18-closes-10-million-series-b-round/
Wine Resourceshttp://wine-r.com/bits-lot18-raises-more-cash-to-sell-wine-online/

Lot18 Raises $10 Million for Online Wine Sales
Xconomy
http://www.xconomy.com/new-york/2011/05/02/lot18-raises-10-million-for-online-wine-sales/

New York startup Lot18—which sells wine in limited-time “flash sales”— is only six months old, but it has already raised a Series B round of funding, according to Business Insider. The company raised $10 million from investors including NEA Ventures and FirstMark Capital.

Lot18 (Offers Exclusive Deals On Wine) Closes $10 Million Series B Round
AllTopStartups
http://alltopstartups.com/2011/05/02/lot18-offers-exclusive-deals-on-wine-closes-10-million-series-b-round/

Lot18 is a membership by invitation website for wine and epicurean products from coveted producers at attractive discounts. Members have access to some of the finest wines and specialty foods, made available in small quantities at extraordinarily low prices. Lot18 evokes the auction lots of old, where savvy consumers were able to bid on fantastic products at incredible values.

Lot18 Completes $10m Series B financing Staff
FinSMEs
http://www.finsmes.com/2011/05/lot18-completes-10m-series-b-financing.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lot18-completes-10m-series-b-financing

Lot18, a New York-based invitation-only site that offers deals (of up to 60%) on premium wines, has completed a $10m Series B financing.


The Growing World Of Wine Flash Sales
The High Low
http://thehighlow.com/2011/05/the-growing-world-of-wine-flash-sales/

Luxury clothes, luxury vacations — when it comes to flash sales, why not use them for wine as well?  The site Lot18 does just that — and it’s about to do more, having just raised another $10 million in Series B funding. After launching last November, the company now boasts about 200,000 members, who receive limited-time access to pre-screened producers selling off small batches of wine.

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