Real Time Wine (http://www.realtimewine.com/), the cheeky 140-character wine review site that is shaking up the local industry, has partnered with business angel investment group AngelHub to grow the business.
“The wine discovery and review system is broken,” says Real Time Wine founder Andy Hadfield (@andyhadfield), a digital industry veteran and colourful web personality. “It’s pretty snobby and full of inner-circle jargon, which makes choosing wine a daunting business for the 75% of us who buy it in supermarkets. Real Time Wine is about making wine fun again, and helping the guys and girls without a training certificate find the good stuff.”
Having secured interest and private angel funding from Angel investors Michael Jordaan (@michaeljordaan) and Mike Ratcliffe (@mikeratcliffe / @warwickwine) to develop a working pilot, Hadfield turned to AngelHub to structure the deal and provide supporting infrastructure for growing the business.
“AngelHub co-founder Keet van Zyl (@poweredbyVC) is one of the most experienced tech industry venture capitalists inSouth Africa,” says Hadfield. “When the time comes for us to seek a second round of funding, he’s definitely someone we want in our corner. His knowledge and expertise, combined with his access to international networks, is priceless.”
In addition, says Hadfield, “AngelHub offers us discounted access to some of the best professional suppliers around, including Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys and Mazars Accountants. That’s a huge advantage and frees me up to concentrate on developing the site and the business.”
AngelHub’s Brett Commaille (@brettcommaille) says the purpose of the manager-led angel group is to bridge the funding gap that has long bedevilledSouth Africa’s tech industry: “There is plenty of money around but no formal access to angel funding for early-stage startups (companies needing between R1m and R10m to get going). We believe this is a very good opportunity for us to fund long-term sustainable growth.”
Hadfield says the AngelHub model is well tailored to South African needs: “The funding ecosystem here is relatively immature, and because both sides of a funding deal need more protection, there tends to be a lot more legal documentation involved here than in, say, the US. AngelHub have developed a flexible model that can adapt to the huge diversity of potential investees – I’m glad to be among their first set of investments and help grow the funding ecosystem. Entrepreneurs out there need to know that funding is possible. Solid business plans and great pitches do actually work!”
Real Time Wine is AngelHub’s second paid out deal in six months. “We offer expertise, networks and mentorship in addition to funding. We manage demand from entrepreneurs needing funding but also from Angels needing somebody to find them deals and walk them through the process and manage their new investment,” says Commaille. “The time is right to create a hub that connects would-be angel investors with entrepreneurs who need funding, and then managing the startup growth path all the way through to create sustainable South African businesses.”
AngelHub is a Business Angel Investment Group that pools funding, expertise& networks from a diverse range of early-stage Angel Investors for investment in high-growth South African ventures to accelerate growth & create value.