Sydney startup WithWine has announced that industry heavyweights Bruce Tyrrell and Lisa McGuigan have joined its board of advisors.
Launched in January, WithWine is a mobile app through which wineries can sell wine direct to their customers. Founder and CEO, Richard Owens, said he is thrilled to have such a respected and knowledgeable duo guiding his business as it grows nationally.
“The feedback we’ve received by everyone we speak to has been phenomenal and we’re excited to have Bruce and Lisa guiding us to make our service even better for wineries and their customers,” Richard says.
The startup has seen quick success: signing a third of the Hunter Valley’s wineries in its first two months of operation and making more than 500 products available for sale, many of which are not available in bottle shops.
“We’re popular because we keep things dead simple,” says Richard, who was Macquarie Bank’s innovation manager before founding the business.
“We bring the vineyards to your fingertips, making wines easy to find and buy when you are most likely to want to find and buy them.”
One of WithWine’s key points of difference is that it shows users the wines their friends like rather than ratings and reviews from the masses.
“We don’t ask strangers in the street for their opinions before we walk into a bottle shop to buy wine, so why do it online? When I’m drinking wine it’s with my friends so they are the best people to guide me toward a wine that I am most likely to enjoy.”
That reasoning is what won over Lisa McGuigan when Richard asked if she’d be willing to provide guidance to his startup.
“I like it because it gets back to what wine is all about,” said McGuigan.
The service has also been resonating with wineries that are looking to increase the size of their direct-to-consumer business in order to provide a better experience for customers, a priority Richard picked up from his time working at Apple.
“You can’t get a better experience than you would at a winery’s cellar door so we wanted to build an extension of that experience for everyone by making it available through their smartphones,” Richard says.
He wants the service to become a ubiquitous tool that allows people to find and buy any wine from any winery quickly and painlessly. He sees his unique approach as a winning formula for reaching his goal.
“We’re not the first to come out with a wine app, but we’re very deliberately doing things differently from the others, not only in the way the app works but also who we work with to make life easier for the customer.”
Being a fourth generation winemaker and having a name that’s synonymous with the Australian wine industry, Bruce Tyrrell’s endorsement also throws a lot of credibility behind Richard’s approach. When asked why his winery was the first to sign up to WithWine, his response was telling.
“Nothing hits the nail on the head the way WithWine does.”
WithWine is available today for iPhone on the App Store. Wineries who want to sign up to the service should click here.