Bright Cellars Snags $1.8M to Expand Wine Delivery Service

Bright Cellars, a subscription wine service that started in Boston and now calls Milwaukee home, has raised about $1.8 million in a funding round that could reach $2 million, according to a regulatory filing.

CEO Richard Yau and CTO Joe Laurendi, who met while living in the same dorm at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, co-founded Bright Cellars in 2014. The team graduated from the Gener8tor startup accelerator in Madison, WI, earlier this year.

The company’s proprietary matching algorithm uses results from a wine quiz new members take to select four bottles, which arrive on their doorstep in a box each month. Members rate wines after drinking them, further refining their taste profiles.

In May, Yau told Xconomy wine is poised to join shoes, clothing, and beauty products as something people pay to receive in a monthly shipment that’s been curated specifically for them.

Yau, reached by phone Monday, declined to comment on the company’s financing.

While wrapping up the 12-week Gener8tor program in May, Bright Cellars was also contemplating staying in Madison or returning to Boston. In an interview with Xconomy earlier this month, member experience manager Maria Santacaterina said the company chose Milwaukee for the city’s relatively low business and living costs, and its support for local startups.

Bright Cellars decided to move into Ward 4, a new co-working space in the Historic Pritzlaff Building near downtown. Other tenants include Gener8tor, which also runs a yearly accelerator in Milwaukee, and CSA Partners, which has invested in Bright Cellars and runs Ward 4.

The latest financing round comes on top of $367,000 and $25,000 investments in Bright Cellars, according to SEC documents filed in January.

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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