Wine company reinventing buying through gamification grows 1,000% in last 18 months, brings on top-tier investors, and names former Google executive Jeff Hardy as COO and board member
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 15, 2021–
Underground Cellar, the wine company that reimagined the way consumers discover, buy and experience wine through their gamified upgrade platform and state of the art, virtual “CloudCellar,” announced today it has raised $12.5M to complete its Series A just as its millionth bottle of wine is sold. The round was led by Accomplice, with participation from Golden Ventures and Bling Capital.
“Our physical and digital worlds are colliding together like never before, changing commerce forever. I invested in Underground Cellar because they are on the forefront of this change, and are well-equipped to become the catalyst that drives it to new levels,” says Ryan Moore, Co-founder of Accomplice.
Underground Cellar is the ultimate community marketplace for wine lovers that rewards consumers with free upgrades to rare and private-stash bottles from prestigious wineries across the nation through its innovative upgrade model and AI algorithms. “CloudCellar” gives consumers unparalleled access and ability to store up to 500 bottles of wine allowing users to buy bottles now and ship them later. Consumers’ wine collection can be managed virtually, with users taking physical possession at any time by selecting specific bottles and having them delivered on-demand with free shipping.
The company has reinvented the wine industry with its innovative “gamification” technology integrated at the core of the platform, allowing customers to rely on the company’s panel of leading wine experts to curate collections of wines together by varietal, theme, or region. Leveraging their proprietary AI models and data engines, customers receive variable upgrades to create a fun and new way to reward customers with premium wines worth at least the same or more than they paid, with rare bottle upgrades being awarded every day often worth up to $10,000.
“People don’t actually want the lowest price or biggest discount when they buy a bottle of wine, what they actually want is the greatest value” says Jeffrey Shaw, Underground Cellar’s Founder & CEO. “After seeing the harm that discounts were causing to wine brands I knew that the solution would be to drive excitement by upgrading customers’ purchases to more expensive, rare, and large-format bottles. We bridged the gap between the way people purchase and experience wine through Underground Cellar’s innovative gamified bottle upgrade technology. Not only does this create an exciting customer experience, but it allows wineries of luxury brands to sell bottles online to influential tech-savvy buyers without resorting to brand-damaging discounts.”
To further integrate the technology-first wine platform, successful tech start-up leader and former Google executive, Jeff Hardy joins the team as COO and takes a seat on the board.
“This new infusion of capital will allow us to enhance our unique gamified platform, further deepen our relationships with the world’s most coveted and prestigious wineries, and unlocks our ability to triple the size of our team by the end of the year,” says Jeff Hardy, Underground Cellar COO.
ABOUT UNDERGROUND CELLAR
Underground Cellar is a leading wine e-commerce company that is changing the way wine is bought and sold in the $70B consumer US wine market through ‘gamification’. The company provides a unique and exciting experience that gives wine buyers a great value by using upgrades instead of discounts. Wine sellers love Underground Cellar too as it allows them to quickly sell bottles while protecting their brand. The company features new wine deals every day on its homepage at UndergroundCellar.com
ABOUT JEFFREY SHAW
Jeffrey Shaw is a successful entrepreneur and digital commerce expert with over 15 years experience leading b2c companies. As the Founder & CEO of Underground Cellar, Shaw brings his deep experience modernizing otherwise archaic industries through technology-first innovation. Prior to founding Underground Cellar, Shaw was a security-industry innovator having founded and led his prior company, ID Creator, to a successful acquisition. He has also held an elected public office in his home-state of Arizona, and is a two-time “in-the-money” winner at the World Series of Poker, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
ABOUT JEFF HARDY
Jeff Hardy is Underground Cellar’s Chief Operating Officer and has spent time leading teams and driving strategy at both growth stage start-ups and large tech companies. Prior to joining Underground Cellar, Hardy was Tapingo’s Chief Business Officer, where he led the company’s growth to a successful exit when it was acquired by Grubhub in November of 2018. Post-acquisition, Hardy took on the role of Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at GrubHub. Prior to this successful exit, Hardy served as Google’s Head of Product Partnerships and worked with Yahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer as Vice President of Global Partnerships.
Shira Berg | AUTUMN COMMUNICATIONS
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