Crowdfunding plan to give Invivo Wines a 'major nudge'

CROWD PLEASER: Invivo Wines co-founder Tim Lightbourne is excited to offer shares in his wine company through equity ...

CROWD PLEASER: Invivo Wines co-founder Tim Lightbourne is excited to offer shares in his wine company through equity crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect.

Two businessmen, famous for making British talk show host Graham Norton's signature wine from hand-picked Marlborough grapes, are gearing up to take their company to the crowd.

Invivo Wines founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron are planning to list on equity crowdfunding platform Snowball Effect, on March 18.

The platform aims to help New Zealand businesses by raising growth capital through sales of very small share lots to many people.

When the offer goes live, Invivo Wines will become the first New Zealand winery to list on the equity crowdfunding platform.

The offer of two million shares, at $1 each, goes live next week, with a funding cap of $2 million.

Lightbourne said they thought it was time to give the business a "major nudge".

"The brand has grown really, really fast and it's a great opportunity to hone in on that growth."

Lightbourne believed listing with Snowball Effect was an exciting business opportunity. They hoped to hit the $2m mark, he said.

"We've shown the Invivo model is scalable, it's not a traditional wine model and there's a unique story behind the brand."

With the funding, they hope to break into further markets and take on more growers, Lightbourne said.

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Cameron, who is also Invivo Wines' winemaker, said they had strategic growth plans in place for the next 12 months, including expanding their business opportunities and international growth.

"Our crowdfund gives investors a chance to have a slice of a fast- growing New Zealand company and share in the success."

Since the company was established in 2006, they have had limited funds, Lightbourne said.

"[So] Invivo has had to innovate in the way it has connected with customers."

This included supplying the Graham Norton Show with wine since 2011, flying fruit to Norton in London so he could crush it with his feet (with the juice then used to make his own signature wine), hosting live street art with graffiti artists in London, organising wine events in a Tokyo car park, and getting New Zealand fashion label Zambesi on board to design their wine label. Invivo Wines will be the sixth company in New Zealand to list on Snowball Effect.

Marlborough businesses have already successfully raised funds through the platform, with Renaissance Brewing, who reached its cap of $700,000, and CarbonScape, who raised $764,302. On top of their crowdfunding venture, Lightbourne and Cameron were also considering listing on the NXT.

The NXT is a new market for small, high-growth businesses and is a licensed market operated by NZX. "We really want to set ourselves up and put our best foot forward, so we've got brokers on board to help us do that, " Lightbourne said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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