Calgary-based BlackSquare Inc, an e-commerce platform targeted to the global wine and spirits industry, has obtained $1.175 million in financing from Canadian private equity and investment management firm HorizonOne Asset Management. Concurrent with this news, BlackSquare announced the spin out as a stand-alone company of its subsidiary Wine Collective Inc, which operates a monthly wine club. The company’s platform brand is Blackboxx, which will be the focus of its international growth plans.
Expanded Reach of Leading Ecommerce Platform for Global Wine Industry
New Financing Fuels International Expansion & Corporate Spin-off
Calgary, Alberta, Canada: 18 Sept. 2013 – BlackSquare Inc., maker of the market-leading Blackboxx wine ecommerce platform, announced a new financing and corporate spin-off.
A $1.175 million equity private placement will finance the company’s ongoing international expansion. To date, BlackSquare has raised a total of $2.675 million.
Since its 2010 start and in the 15 months since BlackSquare’s previous financing, the company has grown its customer base twenty-fold to span four continents. BlackSquare has clients in Canada’s three major wine-producing regions and is on track to power ecommerce for a significant portion of the Australian wine industry’s production.
The equity financing was arranged and led by Toronto-based private equity and investment management firm HorizonOne Asset Management Inc. HorizonOne brings a deep understanding of private equity as well as the technology and wine industries, and has previously made successful investments in wine-related companies.
HorizonOne President James Mahoney said, “We have followed BlackSquare’s story since inception and are impressed with the team’s execution and how well positioned it is as the emerging ecommerce market leader for the global wine industry. I’m very pleased to join BlackSquare’s board and look forward to assisting in value creation and support its growth.”
The financing will greatly enhance BlackSquare’s international expansion, notably to build its Sydney, Australia office’s momentum by establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary, BlackSquare Australia Pty. Ltd.
Growth in the European wine industry is expected to follow a similar pattern to the company’s Australian success. According to BlackSquare’s CEO, Matthew Protti, “Our investment in the Australian market is compelling, we’re seeing major market wins there. We expect to replicate that success in Europe where we recently won our first major client.”
BlackSquare built the world’s most industry-responsive wine ecommerce platform in large part by operating WineCollective.ca. Under BlackSquare’s ownership, WineCollective became Canada’s largest monthly wine club.
To facilitate WineCollective’s continued rapid growth, BlackSquare has spun it out as a stand-alone company, Wine Collective Inc., with continued collaboration between the two independent entities. “WineCollective enjoys sustained profitable operations and has generated significant value to existing BlackSquare shareholders” said Protti. “We’re pleased to announce this next step in WineCollective’s evolution as a profitable private company.”
About BlackSquare Inc.
Canadian-based BlackSquare is a leader in ecommerce for the global wine and spirits industry. BlackSquare combines deep wine industry expertise with advanced, cloud-computing technology to deliver Blackboxx, the most powerful wine ecommerce platform. Blackboxx powers ecommerce in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Europe (blacksquare.ca & blackboxx.biz).
BlackSquare: Matthew Protti, CEO
WineCollective: Amber Fountain, Operations Manager
HorizonOne: James Mahoney, President
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.