Elevator Pitch: WINEDEPOT

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Dean Taylor, CEO of WINEDEPOT .

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea

The idea for WINEDEPOT was born from the inefficiencies I witnessed in the wine supply chain after having launched 7 different wine businesses. The wine supply chain here in Australia is fragmented and failing to meet modern consumers expectations who demand: faster and cheaper delivery, more choice and the ability to buy by the bottle. In emerging markets like China it is even more fragmented.

My business idea is to use a combination of technology and strategically placed ‘wine depots’ to make it simpler, cheaper and faster for wine producers and retailers alike to fulfill customer orders.

On the supply side, our target audience is any producer of wine interested in distributing their products in both Australia and China (an export market now worth over $1 billion).

On the demand side, our target audience is any retailer of wine interested in expanding their product range while reducing administration, fulfillment times and costs.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

WINEDEPOT is my biggest and most ambitious project to date. To roll out a network of depots both here and in China will undoubtedly require a significant amount of capital. To facilitate this I have partnered with Dawine (ASX: DW8) – which is just one of three publicly listed wine companies on the Australian Stock Exchange. It has a unique corporate and liquor licencing structure that allows it to operate in China.
Being a public company, I expect it much easier to raise the amount of funding that is likely to be required to execute my vision.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

Our model and the service that we will be providing is unique. Currently there really isn’t any direct competition, however I expect that will change over time.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

For the ‘depot’ strategy model to work well, we will need to find large centrally located storage sites within major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Shanghai. Finding exactly the right sites that we can secure on long leases is difficult and can add significant lead-time to each project.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

For me it would have to be Uber. Bouncing between meetings, site inspections, airports and wine events I simply just don’t have time to be worrying about driving or parking. I estimate that using it gives me at least an extra 10 hours per week to focus on work.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Hire long, fire fast. I have achieved a lot over the years by surrounding myself with good people. Talented people can be hard to find and even harder to keep. To build an amazing team you have to be prepared to move on good people to make way for the great people. Too many people make the mistake of not acting quick on a hire, when its clear from the start they simply aren’t right for the role.

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