Edge adds wine start-up to new venture division

Edge’s recently launched venture division, Accelerate, has won direct-to-consumer wine sampling business, Rubay Wines, following a competitive pitch.

The independent agency quietly launched Accelerate last year, with the new start-up arm originally conceived to work with pharma giant Sanofi on the launch of direct-to-consumer personalised vitamin play, Livvit. The project saw Accelerate develop a new process and client structure for Livvit to cater to the differing needs of its fast-paced and performance-based sector.

The latest client to join Accelerate, Rubay Wines, will work with the agency on brand architecture and design and the go-to-market plan, as well as ongoing creative, media and customer acquisition work.

Edge founding partner and commercial director, Fergus Stoddart, said of the win: “Rubay is an interesting business backed by a very smart founder, Avron Rubin. Avron is introducing genuine innovation into the sector.  We are helping them bring a more interesting data driven approach to attract the millennial market to wine drinking.”

Rubin added: “In comparison to craft beer, the level of innovation in wine marketing has been so slow so this opportunity has opened up to us. We knew we needed some help taking it to market. We were looking for an independent agency who can do creative and media and approached the opportunity holistically and with a strong commercial lens.

“We asked three agencies to pitch and Edge clearly fitted the bill – they shared my entrepreneurial values, understood start-ups and how to develop a go-to-market strategy for our new product that we could partner and scale together.”

Speaking to Mumbrella, Stoddart said that expanding the Accelerate offering was a “big part” of the agency’s plan, aiming to partner with two to three start ups each year.

The model is flexible, due to the varying needs and budget of each client, but Edge has typically supplemented reduced fees with an “equity and/or performance component”, giving the agency a “vested interested in driving the business and its value”.

“Stoddart noted: “There’s a degree of risk so it’s important to choose the right operators on the right opportunities but also choose projects that are fun and interesting for the team to work on. ”

“The other aspect that is really important for us (and our Accelerate clients) is to embrace agile processes and thinking that suit start up and scale up businesses. We can test more efficient ways of operating, We look to partner with different people and use different tech and then bring those learnings back into the rest of the agency. All up – it keeps Edge entrepreneurial and pushes our capability beyond content creative and media into broader brand experiences which is where we are heading.”

Accelerate was involved in the launch of online rental marketplace, Releaseit, offering a sustainable solution to overconsumption with the “we don’t buy it, you shouldn’t either” campaign. Edge’s start-up offering has since worked with new property tech business, MyHomeVault, on brand design and go-to-market planning.

On the progress of Edge’s Accelerate offering, the agency’s executive planning director, Richard Parker, said: “We’ve loved helping get these businesses up and running; it’s fun, it’s entrepreneurial and we get to use creativity to solve real-world problems in a meaningful way. It also makes us a better agency – pushing us to be nimble and smart with our time and resources, and respond to real-time, in-market feedback. These are hugely beneficial learnings that we can equally apply to our enterprise clients.

“As well as growing our capability and team, we’ve built a share portfolio across different categories, and diversified our income stream. We’ll be announcing a very exciting new joint venture partnership very soon.”


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