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Cracka Wines to raise $5 million in pre-IPO round

Online wine retailer Cracka Wines wants to raise $5 million from its 250,000 customers in what it’s calling a pre-IPO round, as it prepares to expand its direct-to-consumer marketplace into Asia.

Leveraging recent changes in government legislation, CEO Dean Taylor has appointed Equitise to manage what he says will be Australia’s first and largest major crowd-sourced funding raise when the bill is enacted later this year.

Taylor said asking customers to invest in the company aligns with the longer term vision to take the company public.

“While we are too small to do this just yet, we see a crowd-sourced funding raise through a platform like Equitise as the first step in this direction. It’s a great vehicle for a pre-IPO round providing both expansion capital and diversifying our investor pool,” he said.

According to Taylor, customers who choose to invest in Cracka will also enjoy a range of shareholder benefits.

“We expect most of the interest and demand will come from our most active and loyal customers, so makes sense to give them priority access, preferential pricing and invitations to special events,” he said.

Equitise have raised over $20 million of capital for 27 different companies through their New Zealand platform to date, but Cracka Wines is its first Australian crowd-sourced equity funding campaign.

“It’s important that our first retail offer in Australia is not only wildly successful but also a business which has a well established brand and profile in the market, so we were very excited when [Cracka Wines] approached us to run this process for them” said Equitise co-founder and director Chris Gilbert, who added that he expects Cracka’s large and highly engaged database of active customers to jump at the chance to invest.

Wilkinson also praised the Australian government for making the legislative change: “Equity crowd funding has been a long time coming in Australia and will allow companies like Cracka Wines to better utilise their customer and supplier networks for growth and expansion.”

Taylor said Cracka has been committed to building a marketplace that allows consumers to connect directly with producers, cutting out the middleman and releasing value that can be shared between them.

“We’ve developed a robust, highly scalable technology platform that produces significant sales volumes for our winery partners here in Australia. It’s time to expand our horizons to allow the small and medium wineries that we work with to sell to consumers all around the world,” he said.

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