Underground Cellar has raised $12.5 million to complete its Series A, just as its millionth bottle of wine has been 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,” says Ryan Moore, Co-founder of Accomplice. “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.”
Underground Cellar is a 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 pushes industry innovation through its “gamification” technology, which is 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 Hardy.
For more information, head over to Underground Cellar’s official website.