New York-based Lot18 has raised $30 million in Series C financing for its invitation-only site, which provides access to rare and hard-to-find wines and artisanal foods. Accel Partners led the round, which included backing from New Enterprise Associates and FirstMark Capital. Accel’s Sameer Gandhi will join the company’s board.
Lot18, the New York-based company that is changing the way Americans buy wine and gourmet food, today announced that it has completed a $30 million Series C financing led by Accel Partners. Sameer Gandhi, who led Accel’s investments in Bonobos, Spotify and StumbleUpon, will join Lot18’s board of directors. Lot18’s earlier backers, New Enterprise Associates and FirstMark Capital, are also contributing to the new round of financing. The funds will support continued growth, as well as further technological and product development, particularly the expansion of Lot18 Gourmet and Experiences, the company’s food and travel verticals, respectively.
The invitation-only site provides its members exclusive access to rare and hard-to-find wines and artisanal foods hand-selected by the company’s expert procurement team. In less than a year since its launch, Lot18 has grown from six to more than 80 employees and over 500,000 members, with high rates of repeat purchases among new and existing members. The company has seen 12 consecutive months of growth in gross merchandise volume, and facilitated the sales of more than 500,000 bottles of wine.
Last month, the company launched Lot18 Experiences, which comprises wine- and gourmet-themed travel excursions, as well as local offers such as members-only wine-pairing dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants. Along with its ability to provide access to products and excursions of high quality, Lot18’s growth is driven by its commitment to transcending user experience and customer service.
“Companies such as Bonobos and Diapers.com are successful because their sites offer an unparalleled, delightful customer experience. Lot18’s philosophy is identical, from navigating the site, through the purchase and receiving of a product, to the company’s responsive customer service,” said Accel’s Sameer Gandhi. He previously backed Quidsi — the parent company of Diapers.com and Soap.com — which sold to Amazon for $555 million a year ago. Gandhi is also on Forbes magazine’s Midas 100 list of top tech investors. “Lot18 has already changed the space of online wine sales for the better, and will continue to as evidenced by its preparedness for the industry guidelines issued this week by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The company is uniquely positioned to continue growing, innovating and improving as consumers’ appetites grow for professionally curated goods.”
Lot18’s procurement team works with producers from around the world to bring handcrafted, high-end products to its members at attractive prices. In turn, Lot18 gives providers of food, wine and hospitality a simple, direct method of expanding their customer bases.
“Accel’s investment in Lot18 is the best possible validation that we’re succeeding in our effort to improve the multibillion-dollar wine, gourmet food and epicurean-travel industries for consumers and suppliers alike,” said Kevin Fortuna, CEO and co-founder of Lot18. “Accel’s eye for game-changing potential is undisputed, and we’re proud to have earned the group’s attention and support.”
The Series C funding comes in addition to a $3 million Series A round raised in November 2010, led by FirstMark Capital, and a $10 million Series B funding raised in May, led by New Enterprise Associates. The latter round included investment by Quidsi founders Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara.
About Lot18 Lot18 was founded in 2010 by Kevin Fortuna and Philip James. Fortuna was formerly the CEO of Quigo, an advertising technology company that was sold to AOL Time Warner for $360 million in November 2007. James was the Founder and CEO of Snooth, the world’s largest wine website.
Lot18 connects its members with exclusive, limited-time opportunities to purchase directly from wineries, gourmet-food producers and other makers of artisanal goods. Each product or experience featured on Lot18 is individually evaluated for quality by Lot18’s team of experts. Lot18 is headquartered in New York.