Our investment in Plum

Plum is the first appliance to fully automate the preservation and serving of wine — just as the winemaker intended. When I first heard about Plum I was quite skeptical. I asked myself: “who buys a $1,500 device to serve wine by the glass? Don’t most people finish the wine bottles they open?”. Then I asked David Koretz, founder of Plum, a storm of similar questions only to realize how little I understood his business. Knowing what I know now about Plum, I’m excited to be part of David’s journey.

How Plum works…

You simply drop in any 750ml bottle of wine with any closure, and Plum takes care of the rest — automatically identifying the wine, setting the perfect serving temperature, cooling each bottle individually, and extracting the wine one glass at a time. Plum uses a motorized needle that lasts 300 bottles per chamber to pierce the foil and closure. A touchscreen displays the labels, giving you a taste or a glass at a touch. Plum’s argon canisters can preserve over 200 bottles of wine. Using argon Plum keeps wine fresh for up to 90 days, so you can enjoy your favorite wine on your terms.

The niche that Plum found…

Since 2005 hotel in-room revenues declined at 14.3% on a CAGR basis. Minibar sales, room service, pay-per-view movies, and phone services have all been disrupted by technologies such as the smartphone, laptop, and on-demand services. Wine sales are handicapped by offerings of low quality wines that sit unopened in the room or guests are forced to wait for room service to deliver a fresh glass to their rooms. Plum allows for in-room, on-demand wine by the glass that is always fresh and served at the proper temperature.

Why hotels love Plum…

New in-room revenue: I estimate Plum will unlock a $5Bn+ in-room revenue opportunity for luxury & upscale hotels. There are 4M luxury & upscale hotel rooms globally, and ~90% of the guests who stay there are wine drinkers. 58% of this fine crowd drink wine weekly, and 78% monthly. Assume these guests buy two glasses per week per room at an average of $15 per glass, and the math works out.

Enhanced guest experience: With Plum hotels can quickly and efficiently serve guests through connecting the Plum device to guest rewards accounts and hotel POS systems. This eliminates labor costs and makes the in-room experience many times better than waiting for room service.

Instant service recovery: Customer service recovery today is costly and slow for hotels. With Plum the front desk can send a glass of wine right away with the click of a button, instead of having room service deliver amenity. Plum saves the hotel time and money, and provides a much better guest experience preventing a negative TripAdvisor review.

Why we love Plum at Las Olas VC (a.k.a. LOVC)

David: he started his first company when he was 14 years old. In 1999 he co-founded BlueTie, pioneering hosted email for the enterprise, which was recently acquired. After that he launched Mykonos Software, the first deception-based intrusion detection cyber-security company, which he sold two years later to Juniper Networks for $80M.

The world-class team behind Plum:

  • Angelo Dinardi, leads software engineering. Previously worked on the Google Apps team at @Google, and at SmugMug.
  • Travis Coleman, leads hardware engineering. Previously spent 17+ years at Motorola launching blockbuster cellphones like the Moto G.
  • Adam Hoydysh, led sales for David at Mykonos and Juniper Networks Countersecurity Group, and now leads sales at Plum.
  • Weijing Li, leads sourcing and manufacturing. Previously at Motorola for 17 years and then Nokia leading mechanical sourcing activities.
  • Stephanie Faskow, leads marketing. 11 years of digital marketing experience at PwC, working with brands like Carnival Cruises and Bliss.

Multiple, massive market opportunities: Hotels: 4M luxury & upscale hotel rooms globally. Consumers: 20M fine wine collectors. Other multi-billion dollar adjacent markets that David won’t publicly disclose (yet).

Traction: As of last month Plum had signed up several luxury hotels, which represent brands that in aggregate control over 2M rooms. Check out the Four Seasons announcing Plum.

Breakthrough technology: Plum has six issued and six pending patents. Plum is arguably the most sophisticated home appliance in the market today in terms of design and engineering.

Great co-investors: We co-invested with Vinod Khosla’s team at Khosla Ventures in the backing of Plum.

At Las Olas VC (a.k.a. LOVC) we see a bright future for Plum. Personally, I believe the team is building a legendary company, and I’m honored to see it happening sitting first row.