Sometimes, you don’t have to wait till after Echelon for fortune to befall your startup.
For The French Cellar, its piece of good news comes just before Echelon, as ESW Manage, a private equity firm focussed on investment opportunities in Asia, announced its seven-figure investment. Coming shortly after the joining of Jackie Lee from Kyosei Ventures as Chairman, ESW Manage’s investment will see it acquire a 20 per cent stake in The French Cellar, Asia’s pioneer wine subscription e-commerce platform.
With this investment, Founder and Chairman of ESW Manage Wong Yat Foo will be invited to join The French Cellar as its Director. Previously the CEO and Chairman of Mentor Media Ltd, Wong will be bringing more than 15 years of experience in regional and cross-border capital market transactions to the startup.
Wong foresees rapid growth in the market for French wines in Asia due to the increasing affluence of the region. “The mass affluent and high-net-worth-individual population is rapidly growing in SE Asia and China,” he said. “The French Cellar is pioneering curated wine subscription e-commerce in Asia which can directly tap into this trend.”
According to Wong, if the market conditions prove favourable, The French Cellar could even be headed for a public listing. “This is indeed an investment that can go public if the executions are right in the coming years. With Jackie as their mentor, I am excited and confident to join the team in its quest to unlock this obvious opportunity in Asia.”
Vincent Morello, CEO of The French Cellar, noted that Wong’s experience will prove an asset as The French Cellar expands into Asia, and added that demand for French wines among Asians is on the rise as well. “In France, there are currently over 300 appellations, 115,000 winemakers producing more than seven billion bottles of wines a year,” he mentioned.
“The interest in genuine French wine is always high, and the demand for curation and guided discovery is an enormous one in Asia as well. We are convinced that the e-commerce subscription model of curated wines is the solution for the millions of wine lovers to address the challenge in choosing their wines. Our immediate markets of interest will include Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan,” Morello revealed.
Echelon 2014 is a two-day Startup, Technology and Business event where Asia’s most innovative startups, early-stage investors and tech industry leaders as well as tech media, gather to celebrate and build Asia’s growing tech industry, as well as make valuable relationships.