Crurated, which describes itself as a membership-based wine community, announced that it has raised $7.2m (£5.9m) from private investors.
The group, founded in May 2021, said it will use the funds to ‘further evolve the technology platform, expand producer partnerships beyond France and Italy, and increase overall market share across the globe’.
Alfonso de Gaetano, Crurated’s founder, said that around 50% of the fresh funding came from existing investors, alongside commitments from new backers.
He said many of those investing in the company are already clients of Crurated, which specialises in sourcing fine wines directly from producers and offering them for sale via various methods to members on its digital platform.
Wines are backed by blockchain technology, to help offer guarantees of provenance, Crurated said.
The group, which also holds events for members, said its membership rose by 180% in the first half if of its second financial year, versus the same period of its debut year, with revenue growth of 214% in the same period. It also said 70% of members are under the age of 45.
Offer types include sealed-bid auctions, but the group also launched ‘fractional barrel sales’ in autumn 2022 – offering collectors regular opportunities to buy portions of still-in-barrel wines in formats of their choice, and with customisable labels, sourced directly from producers.
De Gaetano said the early success of the barrel auctions had far outstripped the group’s initial revenue expectations.
He said producers were keen to make wine available for the initiative, while top clients were also given the chance to attend winemaker dinners and events.
An opportunity to purchase small-production wines, such as top Burgundy labels, in larger bottle formats also proved attractive for members, he said. ‘Producers were actually offering formats that were really unique,’ he said.
This year, the group plans to launch more offers around barrels of Barolo and Tuscany wines.
It currently works with more than 60 producers in total, with a focus on France and Italy. The number is expected to remain relatively limited, but de Gaetano said ‘definitely you might see a few more great names’ from other regions being added this year.