South African angel investor Michael Jordaan has invested an undisclosed amount in online wine store Port2Port, which the startup will use to develop its platform, grow its product range and boost its marketing efforts.
Former First National Bank (FNB) chief executive officer (CEO) Jordaan is well known for his love of wine, and has been chair of industry association Wines of South Africa (Wosa) since last year.
Also an early investor in now-closed social app Realtime Wine and co-owner of the Bartinney wine farm, Jordaan has now invested in Port2Port through his VC firm Montegray Capital. He will become a director of the company, but told Disrupt Africa his involvement is likely to be more in terms of less formal, idea-generating interactions where he can add business value.
Jordaan said co-founders Nicolò Pudel and Vincent Buhrer were “professional, passionate and highly knowledgeable about wine”, and that he was also attracted to the startup by the strength of its wine portfolio, its fast growth and its low cost base.
“Lean startups have a much higher probability of success. Moreover, the niche chosen – high-end wine and, over time, other luxury consumables – is defensible against the more supermarket oriented e-commerce players,” he said.
Buhrer told Disrupt Africa Port2Port – which launched in January of this year – ran a lean operation with an emphasis on quality and service, and would be using the funding from Jordaan to improve its warehousing, logistics and final customer experience, both online and offline.
“Additionally the funding will be instrumental in developing our ever-evolving platform, which we are constantly curating to include more custom products, from Iranian Caviar and Champagne to Fine and Ultra Fine Spirits. Equally important will be the investment in greater marketing efforts and exposure,” he said.
Jordaan’s investment, he said, was a “truly immense” validation of what Port2Port was trying to do.
“We highly respect him for his undisputed business acumen and track record. We look forward to tapping into his vast knowledge and having him on board as a mentor,” Buhrer said.
“We believe that people are one of the fundamentals in any business and therefore value the fact that we get to work with someone who shares our passion for the industry.”
Port2Port has seen a 45 per cent customer return rate since its launch, but Buhrer said the greatest compliment it has received so far had been recognition from the industry and significant players within it.
“We look forward to a long road ahead and creating a truly unique online wine and delicatessen shopping and browsing experience,” he said.