E-commerce platform features curation and guided discovery of French wines
Immediate markets of interest include Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan
PRIVATE equity firm ESW Manage has announced a seven-figure investment to acquire a 20% stake in The French Cellar, a Singapore-headquartered wine subscription e-commerce platform.
This Series A funding comes in the wake of investments holding company Kyosei Ventures, an associate of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), announcing a strategic investment in The French Cellar. Financial terms were not disclosed.
In that announcement in March, it also announced that Jackie Lee, founder of technology portal Hardware Zone (HWZ) and chief executive officer (CEO) of digital marketing firm clickTRUE, would take on the role of chairman of The French Cellar.
ESW Manage Pte Ltd founder and chairman Wong Yat Foo has been invited to join the startup as its director. He brings on board more than 15 years of experience in regional and cross-border capital market transactions including mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and private equity investment.
Previously, Wong was the chief executive officer and chairman of Mentor Media Ltd, which he took public in 1999 and sold for S$168 million in 2006 to private equity. He served as president of Mentor Media Ltd until it was sold again in January, 2014.
“The mass affluent and high-net-worth-individual population is rapidly growing in South-East Asia and China. The French Cellar is pioneering curated wine subscription e-commerce in Asia which can directly tap into this trend,” said Wong.
“This is indeed an investment that can go public if the executions are right in the coming years. With Jackie [Lee] as their mentor, I am excited and confident to join The French Cellar founders] in their quest to unlock this obvious opportunity in Asia,” he added.
The French Cellar CEO Dr Vincent Morello said his company was excited to welcome the veteran Wong on board.
“His wisdom and experience will be a valuable asset to The French Cellar as we expand into Asia. In France, there are currently over 300 appellations, 1,15,000 winemakers producing more than seven billion bottles of wines a year.
“The interest in genuine French wine is always high. The demand for curation and guided discovery is an enormous one in Asia as well.
“We are convinced that the e-commerce subscription model of curated wines is the solution for the millions of wines lovers … . Our immediate markets of interest will include Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan,” he added.
The French Cellar imports French wines directly from vineyards, carefully selected by its sommelier Nicolas Rebut, former Chef Sommelier of the 3-star Michelin restaurants Louis XV (Monaco) and Le Meurice (Paris).
Since its inception in 2011, ESW Manage has been specialising in growing the business of selected ventures across industries such as financials, real estate development, and IT solutions.
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