Milwaukee-Based Wine Subscription Service Bright Cellars Raises $8.5 Million

By Noah Long ● March 12, 2019

Bright Cellars, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based wine subscription service, recently announced it raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. Bright Cellars previously raised $5.2 million from investors.

The company — which was founded by Richard Yau and Joseph Laurendi — surveys its subscribers to learn more about their preferences. Then it uses an algorithm to match wines and cheeses that they may like. From there, customers will receive a monthly shipment of products. According to Biz Times, Bright Cellars had 22,000 subscribers as of last year.

This round of funding was led by Revolution Ventures. Existing investor CSA Partners (a venture capital fund backed by Milwaukee County Executive and former president and CEO of Argosy Foundation Chris Abele) also participated in this round.

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With this funding round, Bright Cellars will be able to better harness the feedback it receives from customers and the company is going to improve upon its matching algorithm. Plus the company is planning to hire 10 more employees in the next six months.

Originally launched in Boston in 2014, Bright Cellars moved to Milwaukee a year later in order to participate in the gener8tor startup accelerator program. Since graduating from the program, Bright Cellars grew to 40 employees and its revenue increased by 1,500%.

One of the biggest reasons why Bright Cellars decided to stay in Milwaukee is because of the tremendous support from local investors, including CS and gener8tor.A nd the company believes that having a coastal investor (Revolution Ventures) on board will help them grow on a national scale.

“Wine is a massive market that has yet to be disrupted by data and technology,” Revolution Ventures partner Clara Sieg. “Bright Cellars’ unique ability to integrate online and offline experiences in the consumer category gives Richard and his team data insights that will fundamentally change the way consumers shop and experience wine.”