Canned wine company gets $100k investment

The Zell Founders Fund has contributed $100,000 to a recent funding round for Just Enough Wines, a premium quality canned wine company.

“People are gravitating toward canned beverages that are more portable, convenient, and sustainable,” said Kaitlyn Lo, co-founder and COO of Just Enough Wines. 

“Our goal is to be the nation’s No. 1 selling premium canned wine. The Zell Founders Fund’s $100,000 investment in Just Enough Wines is helping us at a critical point in time as we approach our company’s one-year anniversary from when we first started selling our wines and begin to expand into new geographical markets.”

The Zell Lurie Institute’s rich and diverse entrepreneurial programming helped Lo build and think about her new venture while she was an MBA student at Michigan Ross.

“From hands-on courses such as the Financing Research Commercialisation class to the sessions offered through Dare to Dream, there were plenty of resources available to help me with different facets of the business,” said Lo, who received a Dare to Dream grant and was named a Zell Entrepreneur. “

The Zell Lurie Institute also provided access to the law clinic, a design team, and a network of other entrepreneurs.”

Daniela Sanchez and Simona Zhu, who led the Founders Fund due diligence team, said they were impressed by the brand and partnerships that Lo and Hershfield had built since launching their company in January 2020 with limited funding from friends and family.

“This was not just a vision ― they had a product on the market and strong strategic partnerships in the wine industry,” said Sanchez. “Additionally, the founders leveraged their strengths but also recognised their gaps, which is essential for growth.”

The two student investors took responsibility for the entire due diligence process, beginning in April with initial research and founder calls. They pitched the company to other Founders Fund members and made their decision to invest in mid-May.

“There’s been a lot of movement in the alcoholic beverage landscape, so it was interesting to see what the other players are doing and to understand how Just Enough Wines fits into the ecosystem,” said Zhu. 

“It’s clear that the founders have been very thoughtful in their go-to-market approach, and we are excited to see their new developments in implementation and customer acquisition for Just Enough Wines.”

Just Enough Wines worked with experienced winemakers and vineyard operators in California to craft and produce its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Brut Bubbles in 2020, followed by a Rosé in May of 2021. 

It currently sells its premium canned wine in more than 100 retail locations across the state and offers direct-to-consumer shipping in California, Oregon, and Florida.

The environmentally friendly company focuses on sustainable measures for sourcing its wines as well as labelling and packaging its final products. 

Future expansion plans call for new product launches in several states, including Michigan where wines will be shipped directly to consumers’ homes.

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