From the Bondi Farmers Markets to Shark Tank: SOFI Spritz now kicks off equity crowdfunding
Tom Maclean, founder and CEO of SOFI Spritz (middle)
Tue 8 October 2019 - 11:11 amStartup
Shark Tank success story SOFI Spritz is inviting everyday Aussies to invest and own a stake in the homegrown alcohol startup for as little as $250.
Kicking off its first equity crowdfunding campaign with Equitise, SOFI Spritz is looking to raise up to $1 million and is on track to serve over 2 million cocktails this year, with 50% growth year on year and plans to accelerate this growth rate with the funds from the capital raise.
SOFI Spritz is well-known for securing investment on Channel 10’s Shark Tank in 2016. The brand received offers from four of the sharks and accepted a joint offer at the asking price from Glen Richards and Steve Baxter, who remain as close advisors to Founder and CEO Tom Maclean and have helped elevate the brand to a national scale.
From humble beginnings at The Bondi Farmers Markets in 2013, SOFI Spritz has scaled and diversified its business through raising capital on Pozible – a rewards-based crowdfunding platform, after closing three successful campaigns in 2014, 2015 and 2018.
With the backing of the crowd already, SOFI has now turned to equity crowdfunding, wanting to give their investors more for their dollar. Alongside a stake in the business, shareholders will receive additional benefits including investor discounts and exclusive access to new releases.
Winner of The Best Innovation Award at the Australian Drinks Awards in 2017, SOFI Spritz has gone from strength to strength, to become a major player in the ready-to-serve alcohol market. Featuring in over 2,000 locations, including securing national ranging with leading bottle shops Dan Murphys, BWS, Vintage Cellars and First Choice.
We asked Tom Maclean, founder and CEO, why the team had decided to go down the crowdfunding route. He answered, “Equity crowdfunding was a fairly obvious choice for us, as SOFI was originally created in close consultation with fans – starting out at the Bondi Farmers Markets where we received feedback in real-time.
“Followed by successfully completing 3 rewards based crowdfunding campaigns that helped us to upgrade our original packaging, select our second recipe and develop an entire seasonal range. So the idea that we could now give our supporters the opportunity to own a stake in the business, its growth and future success was really exciting.”
Tom has identified a $500 million market opportunity in the ready-made drinks category and has begun putting plans in place to continue the business’s rapid growth at home and overseas. The export journey has only just begun with shipments sent to local markets in the South Pacific last year, with plans to further penetrate the global export market in 2020.
“SOFI is a genuine Australian start-up, with global ambitions and a vision to become the #1 drink of choice for the casual Aperitivo occasion. To help realise that vision, having built a loyal and passionate fan base through rewards-based crowdfunding in the past, it felt right for SOFI to launch an Equity Crowdfunding campaign,” he said.
The business recently looked into the growth market of on premise strategy, trialling SOFI Spritz cocktail kegs at Bondi’s Bucket List which exceeded the venues expectations, selling over $120,000 worth of SOFI cocktails on tap and achieved a GP margin of almost 90%. In the coming months, the business will begin locking in new venues to trial its cocktail kegs which will diversify not only its revenue stream, but on premise offerings.
Co-founder of Equitise, Chris Gilbert, says it’s SOFI Spritz’s ability to resonate with its audience that makes this such an exciting crowdfund.
“A successful equity crowdfund is always measured by how much the crowd gets behind a product. With SOFISpritz they’ve had terrific success in crowdfunding, growing a loyal consumer following as well as being a much-loved drink of choice amongst a millennial following,” said Gilbert.