The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Invivo reports strong growth at AGM

With the latest six-month results showing a sales increase of 35 per cent on last year, Kiwi wine company Invivo certainly had a lot to celebrate at their third AGM, held at Pocket Bar & Kitchen in Auckland.

It was a full house when shareholders joined Invivo co-founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron for an afternoon of wine and canapes as they reflected on what has been another successful year for one of the world’s fastest growing wine brands.

The first company in New Zealand to equity crowdfund the maximum $2 million in 2015, Invivo is nearing 1.5 million bottles sold in just the first six months of this financial year. The forecasted 2018 revenue is expected to increase 285% since their first crowdfund.

Lightbourne says their innovative approach has been key to their success – even their AGMs, which they refer to as Annual ‘Genial’ Meetings, aren’t your standard stuffy gathering of investors in a boardroom.

“Ever since our first AGM in 2016, we’ve tried to create a unique experience for our shareholders, after taking inspiration from the world’s most successful equity crowdfunded company Brewdog in the UK and hearing about how it hosted its AGM,” he says.

“Attendance at our AGMs has always been more than some listed companies. We try to make the experience as fun as possible for our investors – to really celebrate who we are as a company and what we stand for.”

Invivo now has 30% of investors who are female – the highest proportion for a crowdfunded company in New Zealand and way above the angel investment industry average of 5%.

With glasses of Invivo wine in hand, shareholders were presented with some positive figures relating to the company’s growth, exports and plans for the future. As a crowdfunded company, these results are supported by the last two years of audited accounts.

Continuing their mission to bring their NZ produced wines to the world, Invivo revealed the company’s exports make up 86% of sales with the UK and Ireland their biggest markets.

The Graham Norton Rosé is now the second best-selling NZ rosé in the UK, and in Ireland, the Sauvignon Blanc is top three. In New Zealand, Invivo also continues to grow with their distribution partner Lion, reporting a sales increase of 37% this year.

The company’s partnership with talk show host Graham Norton has gone from strength to strength since Norton personally stomped his own Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the set of his TV show several years ago.

In August this year, Invivo released Norton’s fifth vintage and new Prosecco and it’s already off to a huge start with more than 180,000 bottles sold in the first couple of months.

“It is always fantastic to see the turnout and support at our company AGM from shareholders,” said Lightbourne. “Times have certainly changed since it was just Rob and I around the kitchen table in a flat! We now have 654 shareholders invest in the business. In terms of results, we’ve had a really positive start to the first six months of the 2018 financial year and look forward to continuing the momentum.”

In recent years, Invivo has focussed on diversifying their product offering with a Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Shiraz already established under the Graham Norton brand, along with the new Prosecco and several varieties under the Invivo label.

With a select range of wines for consumers to choose from, Sauvignon makes up 56% of Invivo’s sales – compared with the New Zealand Wine industry’s overall wine exports of which Sauvignon makes up more than 90%.

On the new product front, Graham Norton’s Own Gin is due to launch early next year – with retailers already showing a great deal of interest, noted Lightbourne.

“The hard work that we’ve done as a company is paying off, we’re excited to launch the Graham Norton Gin, Prosecco is flying off the shelves and the winemaking team are doing great with two trophies at wine competitions in USA and UK and a number of gold medals in the last month or so.”