Cork Wine Business Expands

Cork Wine Business Expands
Advises "Skip the bank, go to the people"
Curious Wines Mike Kane at a Cork tasting
Cork wine company Curious Wines run by brothers Mike Kane and Matt Kane, one of the first wine companies in Ireland to use the web and social media to get business, are innovating again. The brothers are expanding their business by opening a wine warehouse and retail space in Naas, just off the M7 as a foothold into the greater South Dublin area. However, rather than relying on the banks to finance the expansion, it was apparent they had the necessary funding right at their finger-tips – through their own customers.
No more cajoling
"We needed an additional €30,000 of financing but instead of jumping through hoops by having to educate, prod and cajole a bank manager, we went to the people who understand and believe in our business: our customers, our friends,” stated MD Michael Kane.
Curious Wines are one of many businesses in Ireland using new forms of financing, based on peer-to-peer lending or crowd-funding. Here they're using LinkedFinance, where individuals get to bid "micro" loans at rates that suit them. When enough people bid the loan becomes an auction, with the loan fulfilled at the lowest rates bid. Where Curious have struck gold again is in offering the loan to their customers first.
“We’ve never seen such an enthusiastic response to a loan on our platform.” commented Marc Rafferty of LinkedFinance. “Normally we would experience 20-30% loan fulfilment in the first week of a loan being offered. With Curious it was 75%, and at rates we haven’t seen before.”
Rafferty continued: “Curious Wines has embraced Linked Finance as a way to raise finance to expand their Irish business in the ultimate fashion. By engaging with their own customers, they have driven the speed of the fulfilment, and driven down the rate at which people are prepared to invest in them. Not only are they receiving the finance they need to grow, they’re turning their current customers into lenders and advocates for their business and they’ve also publicised their wine business to the thousands of lenders supporting Irish SMEs on Now that's what we call a real alternative to the banks!” continued Rafferty.
The loan auction ends on Tuesday 24th June and details can be read here:
Would you get €30,000 from your bank in a week?
Matthew Kane, Curious Wines’ Operations Manager, who will run the Naas location: "We're blown away that in just a week we're at 75% of our €30,000 loan without pushing it that hard. We sent an email to our newsletter list and put up a few tweets and our friends and supporters spread the news via word of mouth. It's a total endorsement of what we're doing by our own customers."
Curious Wines are of the view that new direct to public financing models are a future that SMEs need to consider.
Michael Kane MD: "Despite all the fancy advertising saying banks are lending money, they're still far too conservative and strangling people in paper and conditions, we would urge many SMEs that are looking for financing to investigate LinkedFinance. These are the credit unions, the community coop banks of the 21st century"
The new Curious Wines location will be a 6,000 square foot unit in Tougher Business Park, Newhall, between Naas and Newbridge, just 3km from the M7 Dublin-Cork motorway. Around half the space will be used for retail, with the other half supporting the growing warehousing and distribution requirements of Curious’ nationwide online and wholesale business.