Toronto-based Somm, a wine-focused software-as-a-service company, has raised C$2 million in financing. The round was led by KJSM Ventures and Highlander Wine & Spirits.
TORONTO, June 24, 2021 /CNW/ – SommTM announced today the close of its $2 million (CAD) oversubscribed financing round, co-led by Calgary-based KJSM Ventures and strategic partner, Highlander Wine & Spirits. The company will use the funds to expand its recommendation engine and machine learning technology, refine its marketplace, as well as the consumer app’s user experience. SommTM will also grow its product, marketing and software engineering teams, and expand its national footprint with major partnerships in Canada & the US.
“The wine industry is very fragmented, so making the right selection or even knowing how to access great producers, can be extremely challenging,” says Jennifer Tkachuk-Tremblay, the Founder and Chief Executive of SommTM. “Research shows that over 90% of people aimlessly meander around wine shops, feel overwhelmed with choice at restaurants, or pick by the label. So, we designed a tool that works the way we’re naturally wired to think, keeping intuitive and beautiful design, as well as practicality, at the app’s core.”
Founded in July 2020, SommTM takes the guesswork out of wine, by putting ‘a sommelier in everyone’s pocket.’ The app offers credible recommendations through first-of-its-kind technology, along with a seamless marketplace connection to exclusive wineries, distributors, and importers – a world previously reserved for restaurants, high end hotels and private buyers.
Somm™ is embracing the surge in consumer e-commerce activity, the appreciation for local connection, and the hospitality industry’s focus on technology, helping them thrive in their new digital future. Since inception, Somm™ has seen organic download growth of 8 per cent per week and is working with top restaurants, hotels, wineries and wine agencies across Ontario, in addition to being integrated with the portfolio from the LCBO – one of the largest wine buyers in the world. The company is also in the midst of its national expansion, diversifying its roster of partners across the country.
“We created SommTM because great culinary experiences are something that everyone can appreciate. Although wine is universally enjoyed, its accessibility and complexity often makes the category feel exclusive,” says Tkachuk-Tremblay. “SommTM breaks down these barriers and makes wine more approachable and accessible to the masses.”
Major investor, KJSM Ventures, understood the opportunity and its trajectory immediately. “We fully believe that the future of the wine and culinary industry is rooted in technology and COVID-19 made that ever so clear,” says Scott McKay, Managing Director of KJSM. “Beyond wine, we see the tech expanding into numerous other products – whether that’s proxies, craft beers, scotches, whiskeys, spirits, and even cannabis. Really anything curated for the consumer palate. We believe SommTM has limitless potential, and we’re very happy to be part of the journey from the beginning. We fully support the team and their vision.”
Strategic investor, Highlander Wine & Spirits, is also excited to be onboard. “We have significantly increased our focus on engaging, digital solutions and we see SommTM’s intuitive platform as an innovative and seamless way to expand our reach,” says Harrison Zivot, Partner at Highlander. “The company has an impressive team, and it’s clear that they understand the industry from the ground up. We’re greatly looking forward to playing a key role in Somm’s expansion to Western Canada.”
With an ultimate vision to become ‘the Spotify of Taste’, this new chapter marks a promising future for the company. “Our team has deep roots in the technology and hospitality sectors with professionals hailing from Shopify, Wealthsimple, Y-Combinator backed Delphia Inc., luxury hotels by Relais & Châteaux, and we also have one of only five Master Sommeliers in Canada working with us,” says Tkachuk-Tremblay. “This is only the beginning for SommTM. We have an amazing, growing team, and we’re incredibly excited to have such tremendous support from the investor and hospitality community.”
SommTM is available for download on Android and iOS across Canada. Novices and wine aficionados alike can follow SommTM on Instagram at @somm_app and visit www.somm.io for more information on the latest news and company updates.
The future of wine is tech.
Somm™ is a Toronto-based, female founded and led, technology company focused on making wine more approachable and accessible to everyone. With machine learning at its core, SommTM’s recommendation engine and intuitive design puts a sommelier in everyone’s pocket. Taking the guesswork out of wine and connecting its users to a whole new world of choice, the company is unlocking the wine world for the masses. Download the app today on Google Play or the Apple Store. Learn more by visiting www.somm.io and following along on social media at @somm_app.