Building a Facebook for Wine

December 16, 2007 at 8:39 am Leave a comment

Michael Stajer bet big on his idea to start an eBay-style (EBAY)Web site for buying and selling wines in 1999. The Bay Area attorney sold his personal wine collection for $25,000 to finance the site, called WineCommune. At the time, he hoped to get venture or angel funding early on. “My original plan was, ‘Hey, I’ll get this product up and then I’ll shop it around and see if I can get some money, hire some people, and then take it to the next level,'” Stajer says.

That didn’t happen. The dot-com collapse came a year after he started WineCommune, and investors were wary of the regulated market of alcohol sales. Stajer kept his day job and gradually developed the site. He amassed more than $40,000 in credit-card debt to finance the business. But despite the time he spent wondering how he would ever pay the bills, Stajer says he’s glad he never got funded. The company expanded by launching online retailer J.J. Buckley and WineZap, a price comparison site with a social network. He expects WineCommune to have $17 million in revenues this year from a mix of advertising, paid referrals, and retail wine sales across the three sites. “Now, of course, [the credit-card debt is] paid off, and I got my wine collection back,” he says.

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Entry filed under: 1. From 10 Hours a Week, $10 Million a Year

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About Biz News

My Name is Bisi and this is my blog This blog features stories that I have read that I think are interesting . I usually bookmark the stories that I find interesting but they are getting too many . I have decided to catalog and share them on this site . I am not really promoting the site so you might have accidentally stumbled on it . Thanks for visiting .
December 2007
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