I’ve been a fan of Crushpad since 2005 and since then they’ve grown by leaps and bounds, bringing in $6.7 million in revenue last year. But unlike some other growing young companies, San Francisco-based Crushpad isn’t funding their growth through venture capitalists but instead has raised $9 million from 120 loyal customers. Venture Beat checks in with Michael Brill who started Crushpad in 2004. Brill states that the company was originally going for $5 million but raised it to $9 million and found that the deal was still oversubscribed. Now that’s customer loyalty!
Crushpad helps users create their own wine online or come to Crushpad’s headquarters to participate hands-on in the process. Making your own wine is relatively expensive (the minimum order for Crushpad is a barrel, which ranges in price from $5,000 to $9,600) and so Crushpad’s customers are generally wealthy. The months-long process of creating the wine has helped the customers become passionate not just about wine but about Crushpad too. Their investment will help grow the company and some of the investors will join the board of directors. Crushpad is planning to use the money to enhance the long-distance experience on the web site and possibly open more locations including one in France.