ONLINE DRINKS retailer Naked Wine, founded by one of Sir Richard Branson’s former right-hand men, Rowan Gormley, has reported that group sales jumped by 40 per cent last year.
The company said the increase to £53 million came from stronger growth in its newer activities in the US and Australia. It said last year that it was considering opening its own vineyard down under after the success of its US site.
Founded in 2008, Naked Wine crowdfunds independent winemakers, with “angel investors” investing £20 a month towards future orders in return for up to 50 per cent off retail prices.
These investors grew by 50 per cent to reach a record 220,000 and more than the 185,000 needed to break even.
The firm said this increase led to what chief executive Gormley, who helped found Virgin Money, described as “strong” profitable growth in 2013.
Additionally, investment in wine production grew to £5m a month, and Gormley claimed that the business has “revolutionised” the way wine is funded, made and sold. “We have created a business that enables talented and ambitious winemakers across the globe to receive the funding they need to create the wines they dream of – and share them with an enthusiastic and appreciative audience,” he added.
“In the year ahead we have some truly great wines to offer our angels that I believe will lead to another year of strong growth.”
UK operating profit almost doubled to £2m, and worldwide turnover is now more than £50m, Naked Wine also said.