At liquor stores as well as in restaurants, picking out a wine can be a daunting process for even the most sophisticated of drinkers. After all, there are at least 38,000 wineries in the world and more than 160,000 new wines every year, according to Brad Rosen, the CEO of Drync. The Boston-based mobile app development company wants to solve this problem using smartphone technology.
Drync announced on Wednesday that it raised $900,000 to expand its wine discovery app that it hopes will be the “Shazam for Wine.” Simply by taking a picture of a wine label, Drync can identify and describe nearly any bottle of wine. Users can also purchase the wine right through the app and have it shipped directly to their door.
“The Drync team has developed an elegant solution to an age-old problem for wine drinkers,” Mark Hastings, one of the lead angel investors behind Drync, said. According to Wine Intelligence, 94 percent of wine drinkers have reported having trouble with being unable to remember a wine they try. Hastings said Drync answers this problem and “has the potential to completely change how people discover and buy wine.”
The Drync app uses image-recognition technology to scan a wine label and recognize it in just a few seconds. There are more than 1.7 million wines in the Drync database -- and it doesn’t just work on wine bottles -- Drync can be used to identify wine from magazines, billboards and computer screens.
Through a network of licensed retailers and wineries, Drync users in 41 states can purchase more than 30,000 wines and have them shipped to their home. Drync can also store credit-card information, allowing a user to identify and purchase a wine they may be enjoying at a restaurant or friend’s house within 30 seconds, all through the smartphone app.
Discovering new wine is also a big part of Drync. The app features a wine list curated by some of the most well-known sommeliers in the industry. Users can also rate the wines they try, share what they're drinking with their social networks, and see ratings and notes from their friends.
Rosen said the idea for the app came to him during a trip to Italy when he was taking pictures of the labels from wines he was enjoying. He said the idea is to help bring the wine industry -- a $34 billion market in the U.S. alone -- up to speed in the mobile e-commerce era.
“The wine industry is a very large market that has not enjoyed the explosive growth that other sectors have from technology innovation, but this is about to change,” Rosen said, adding that the Drync app is “perfect storm” uniting mobile commerce, a change in alcohol regulation that only recently allowed wineries to ship directly to consumers and a growing consumer base of young, affluent drinkers that prefer wine.
Rosen said Drync targets a market of “people who really like and want to learn more about [wine], but don’t have the time because they are so damn busy.”
In the future, Drync wants to provide new ways to discover wines. Using data, Drync will eventually be able to recommend wines based on a user’s price and palate preferences.
Drync is only available for iPhones, but Rosen says an Android version is in the works. Drync is available now as a free download on the Apple iTunes store.