Milwaukee-based startup Bright Cellars has raised $11.2 million in a Series B round led by Chicago-based venture capital firm Cleveland Avenue. Bright Cellars polls customers on which wines they like from its monthly wine subscription service in order to make personalized recommendations. The startup then leverages data it collects to generate insights, which have allowed Bright Cellars to develop its own portfolio of wines. The company also implements a rapid, data-driven research and development cycle to “prove out new wines in an industry that has struggled to attract a modern consumer,” according to the company. To date, Bright Cellars has used its data to launch more than 600 new wines including in categories like sparkling, premium and sustainable. “The top-rated wine on our platform tastes and looks unique – it has no equivalent on the market,” Bright Cellars CEO and co-founder Richard Yau said in a statement. “Every year since we’ve launched Bright Cellars, ratings on the platform have increased – leveraging the data we get from direct feedback is fueling a better wine experience for our members.” The Series B round also attracted investment from existing investors including Northwestern Mutual and Revolution Ventures. The capital will be used to advance Bright Cellar’s data platform, scale operations and expand its portfolio of wines, according to the company. “In a market where legacy players have struggled to attract the next generation of wine drinkers, Bright Cellars’ approach to customer education, personalization and data has well-positioned the company as the conduit to a new and modern customer,” Cleveland Avenue principal Jacob Shapiro said in a statement.
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