Saturday 16 November 2019

Wine entrepreneur Dean Taylor launches new digital venture

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Wine entrepreneur and one of Australia’s digital pioneers, Dean Taylor is launching his eighth technology-focused venture – WineDepot.

WineDepot is a cloud-based technology platform connecting the wine industry and providing an end-to-end supply chain solution. Partnering with Australia Post, the world-first integrated model will introduce same-day delivery to retailers from Australia’s 2,500 wineries.

“The concept for WineDepot is something that I have been thinking about and developing for almost two decades,” Dean said.

“Even 20 years ago, I could see how inefficient and expensive the existing supply chain and distribution model was. Rather sadly, it’s hardly evolved at all in that time.

“The WineDepot logistics solution has been specifically designed to remove the layers and layers of inefficiency and wastage that exist in the supply chain.”

Australia Post will provide warehouses, staffing, backend IT systems and infrastructure to support the technology platform, transforming the existing wine supply chain.

Recognising the scale of the project, Dean vended WineDepot into Digital Wine Ventures (ASX:DW8) in April, becoming the largest shareholder and CEO. His vision for DW8 is to build a diversified portfolio of technology businesses servicing the $300 billion global wine and beverage industry.

“I’ve spent the last 20 years building wine businesses,” he said.

“Online consumers have been trained by the likes of Amazon to expect free and fast delivery and if you don’t provide that your customers will eventually go elsewhere. I learnt that the hard way and it led to my decision to try and tackle the problem.”

Dean’s first venture Wine Ark – an off-site climate-controlled storage for wine collectors – was the first company of its kind in the world to provide their customers with online access to their collections, and later sold for $8.5 million. He then leveraged technology to launch Wine Exchange, an online trading platform; The Cellar Club, a premium wine club; and Crackawines.com.au – an online marketplace that allowed wineries to sell direct-to-consumer.

WineDepot combines Taylor’s extensive experience running storage and online retail solutions in the wine industry.

Currently most retailers operate from a single warehouse site in either Sydney or Melbourne, with stock purchased tying up valuable working capital. Interstate orders are typically shipped by the case, which is expensive and can take anywhere between two and 10 days to arrive at its destination.

“Our network of depots will allow retailers to have a presence in other capital cities, dramatically reducing their freight costs and delivery times – without having to invest in that inventory or infrastructure,” Dean said.

With eight successful online wine ventures under his belt, Dean is a start-up veteran and one of Australia’s digital pioneers.

Originally an architect, his first business Wine Ark provided off-site climate-controlled storage for wine collectors. The first company of its kind in the world to provide their customers’ online access to their collections, it now manages more than $200 million of wine across the country.

Further leveraging technology, he then established Wine Exchange, an online trading platform and The Cellar Club, a premium wine club that sent highly targeted ecommerce offers to its members.

By 2010, Dean has successfully exited those businesses, with the storage and trading assets sold to National Storage (ASX:NSR) for $8.5 million and The Cellar Club sold to Cellarmasters (later acquired by Woolworths as part of a $340 million transaction).

In 2010 Dean established Crackawines.com.au (under the Online Liquor Group) an online marketplace. Cracka had more than 5,000 products listed from 1,000 wine producers.

Seeing the opportunity to cater for niche market segments, Dean launched My Wine Guy – initially in partnership with James Halliday’s Wine Companion, then later with American Express. That business continues to grow at over 100 percent per annum.

In 2017, he merged the Online Liquor Group with The Wine Society, Australia’s oldest wine club. As part of his strategic vision for the group, Cracka and The Wine Society have since been consolidated and now operate under The Wine Collective.

Further details: www.winedepot.com

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