Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Invivo seeks $2m for growth

Tim Lightbourne , Rob Cameron and Graham Norton drinking Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Tim Lightbourne , Rob Cameron and Graham Norton drinking Invivo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Award-winning winemaker Invivo Wines is on the capital-raising trail to help pay for faster growth and expansion into new markets, after a year of record sales.

The company wants to raise $2 million through private investors, which will be used to fund expansion and increase the amount of wine produced, with the aim of boosting turnover from about $5.5 million this year to $10 million within two years.

The company was founded by Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron in 2008, and has been making a profit since its second year.

Cameron is the head winemaker, and Lightbourne is in charge of the the marketing.

The company had run a "lean, mean ship" which had helped to improve profitability, Lightbourne said. But it was time for it to increase its growth.

"Over the years we have been approached by various people but at the time we didn't feel like we were ready so we just organically grew the brand," he said.

"We feel at this stage that it's time to take on that investment, so we're going back to some of those people that we've spoken to over the years."

Invivo exports to about 15 countries, with its biggest markets in New Zealand and the UK. Lightbourne said it would be looking to the United States

Invivo's wine regularly appears on Britain's Graham Norton Show, with the superstar chat show host owning a minor shareholding.

The company has its office in Auckland, a winery at Mangawhai and 21 grape growers around the country.

Lightbourne said a vineyard was also an option if the company could raise enough investment.

It was a tough industry to be in, but Lightbourne said launching during the financial crisis had made the company a lot stronger and more confident.

"We've been through some tough times in '08 and '09 when we launched, that was at the start of the recession and New Zealand's biggest harvest," he said.

"In the first couple of years we never really had any money so we learned to make it work, and it's taught us ways to build the company here in New Zealand but be global."

- NZ Herald

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