30/5/2018 – Online wine marketplace startup Winery Philippines has yesterday secured a new round of financing that it will use to boost its sales and marketing efforts to grow its customer and vendor base in the country.
While the exact valuation remains undisclosed, Winery Philippines said that this second round of funding has reached a seven-digit USD valuation, backed by a consortium of high-net-worth private investors.
Launched in June 2017 by a group of wine lovers, Winery Philippines connects small-scale wine sellers directly with consumers through a curated online wine marketplace.
The startup does not list mass-produced, factory-made wines but instead focuses on lowering the prices of quality wines abroad that might cost an additional US$10 or US$20 at the same price for consumers in the Philippines.
“Being an emerging wine market, there is already considerable and growing interest in learning about and drinking great wine in the Philippines,” said Urbano. “But the problem is that Filipino wine drinkers at large don’t have access to good quality wines and prices are often poor value for money compared to buying elsewhere.”
This is due to the monopolized and high-cost nature of retail distribution in the Philippines. More specifically, a high prevalence of limit is set by distribution gatekeepers to provide these boutique quality wine to supermarkets, hotel and restaurant scenes.
However currently, the startup is opening up the access and serving a majority of customers in Metro Manila. There is also a growing order volume from provincial areas and second-tier cities, where access to quality and value for money wine is even more limited.
According to company’s data, retail wine revenue in the Philippines is at US$300 million and is expected to increase annually by 9 percent to reach US$400 million in 2021.
“About 3 to 5 percent, or US$12 million to US$20 million, is estimated to be derived from online sales channels. High demand for wine is sustained by the growing number of middle and higher-income consumers,” Winery Philippines explained.
Chris Urbano, the Founder and Managing Director at Winery Philippines, also revealed that while venture capital has poured into Chinese wine and spirits marketplaces over the past five years, smaller but promising markets like the Philippines are still off the radar for many investors.
“Our backers see the chance to establish early market leadership amidst thinner competition, higher margins and a small but profitable and fast-growing segment,” Urbano said.
Besides, Winery Philippines has also launched Kavino Club, a subscription programme that allows consumers to receive a curated range of two, three or six bottles monthly at discounts, in addition to wine information cards, year-round freebies, and perks.
“Winery.ph is well positioned at the nexus of rapidly increasing consumer interest in wine and wine knowledge, the blistering rate of growth of ecommerce, and amidst a backdrop of strong macroeconomic growth- with the Philippines now trading places with China as the fastest growing economy in Asia,” Urbano added.