NEW YORK, December 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Purchase Marks Lot18's First International Move in Long-Term Global Expansion Plan
Lot18, the New York-based company that is changing the way Americans buy wine and gourmet food, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Paris-based e-commerce company Vinobest. The firm was founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs Paul Guillet and Thierry Rochas, who will stay on with Lot18 and continue to serve European wine lovers from their Paris office. The Vinobest site will be redesigned and rebranded in early 2012.
"Many of Lot18's registered members live in the U.K., France and Germany, and have been asking us to serve them - now we'll be able to do it better than even they anticipated," said Kevin Fortuna, Lot18's CEO and co-founder. "Sales of nearly all other luxury goods in Europe have moved online, and wine is just starting to make the transition as well. Europe is a $100 billion wine market, and with Vinobest we'll be hugely successful even if we capture a small portion of it."
Before launching Vinobest, Rochas founded a wine export company and, later, a wine and cheese shop in Paris; Guillet founded and ran a software solutions and IT infrastructure firm. Vinobest realized strong sales growth in its first 10 months of operations and has a highly developed system of fulfillment that ships wine to consumers in all parts of Europe quickly and economocically.
"Through a combination of our experience with wine and technology, we've been able to use the web to educate consumers about wine, and encourage them to experiment and try new things," said Rochas. "For many Europeans right now, going out to a nice restaurant isn't affordable. Instead they're seeking better value and quality in the wines to drink at home with friends and family - which we've been able to provide."
While Guillet and Rochas will continue to work from Paris, Lot18's European operations will be run from a new office in London headed by Will Armitage. He grew up with a wine-collecting father, and his sister-in-law's family, the Dillons, own the legendary Chateau Haut Brion in Bordeaux. Armitage was an early investor in Lot18, and prior to joining the company he ran European operations at IG Group, an FTSE-250 financial services company. He was hired last month after Lot18 announced its $30 million Series C round of funding led by Accel Partners. In the year since its launch, Lot18 has raised $45 million in venture financing, and grown from six to 90 employees and over 600,000 members. The company has seen 13 consecutive months of growth in gross merchandise volume, and facilitated the sales of more than 700,000 bottles of wine to American consumers.
"Like Lot18, Vinobest started with the desire to provide value through curation of high-quality wines based on strong, direct relationships with the producers," said Fortuna. "Lot18 has been working closely with European wineries as well and, now with combined resources, we'll be able to provide both American and European consumers with unrivaled selection and quality."
Lot18 was founded in 2010 by Kevin Fortuna and Philip James. Fortuna was formerly the CEO of Quigo, an advertising technology company that was sold to AOL Time Warner for $360 million in November 2007. James was the Founder and CEO of Snooth, the world's largest wine website.
Lot18 connects its members with exclusive, limited-time opportunities to purchase directly from wineries, gourmet-food producers and other makers of artisanal goods. Each product or experience featured on Lot18 is individually evaluated for quality by Lot18's team of experts. Lot18 is headquartered in New York. For more information or to request an invitation for membership, visit http://www.lot18.com.
Media contact: Christina Graham, +1-646-340-1764, firstname.lastname@example.org