The Series B round for Witherspoon’s Draper James brand was led by San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures.
Epicurean Food Offerings Complement Featured Curated Wines.
New York, New York – June 27, 2011 – Lot18, the New York-based company that provides insider access to the best in wine, today announced its expansion into gourmet food. Building on its success in connecting members with the world’s best wineries, Lot18 now offers its members exclusive access to a curated selection of high-quality artisanal foods. To kick off the program, Lot18 is offering Kuma Coffee from Guatemala and Papua NewGuinea, three Creminelli fine meats options, and a French cheese tasting set.
“As with small winemakers, boutique food producers face challenges generating awareness for their brands,” said Philip James, co-founder and president of Lot18. “Just as we connect our rapidly growing member base to the best in wine, we will now offer them access to the best small producers and farmers.”
To help launch and develop its food category, Lot18 appointed Katy Andersen as Gourmet Food Specialist. Andersen grew up on an organic farm, is an alumna of the Harvard Business School and studied cheese in Italy on a Fulbright Scholarship. During her undergraduate studies at Princeton University, Andersen founded the Greening Princeton Farmers’ Market and the nation’s third Slow Food Chapter. Andersen was also a member of the U.S. team that won the “Concours 20 sur vin” blind-tasting competition held at Chateau Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux in June.
Dini Rao, VP of products who oversees Lot18’s curation, said, “Katy brings an unparalleled breadth of knowledge and experience in gourmet food to Lot18. She understands first hand how hard it is for small producers to reach a national audience. Through her life experiences and extensive studies, Lot18 can now provide its members unique, hand-selected food offerings – many of which will be paired with our wine offerings.”
In addition to wine-friendly foods like artisanal cheeses and meats, Lot18 will introduce small producers of coffee, olive oil, teas, chocolates, preserves and other delectables to its growing member base.
“People love farmers’ markets, in part, because they have the opportunity to meet the people who grow and make great-tasting food,” Andersen said. “We want to bring that personal farmers’ market experience online, and foster a direct connection between these small food producers and our members. We can help producers grow their businesses and offer our members access to the most delicious food available.”
Lot18 provides insider access to the best in wine, sourced by experts, and delivered direct to consumers at attractive prices. Lot18 evokes the auction lots of old, where savvy consumers were able to bid on fantastic products at incredible values.
Lot18 was founded in 2010 by Kevin Fortuna and Philip James. Kevin was formerly the CEO of Quigo, an advertising technology company that was sold to AOL Time Warner for $360 million in November 2007. Philip was the founding CEO of Snooth, the world’s largest wine website.
Lot18’s advisory board includes seasoned industry veterans drawn from the ranks of eBay, PayPal, Victoria’s Secret, Amazon, AOL, Quigo, Time Inc., Ziff Davis, and Experian. Investors include top venture capital firms FirstMark Capital andNEA, backers of companies including Groupon, Diapers.com, and Stubhub.