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Vintank dead? Vin65 customers left in lurch. Signs point to quiet euthanasia by private equity

NOTE: This article will be updated with any responses or further information that may be received.


 

 

Vintank seems to have been quietly euthanized by a Denver private equity firm which invested this May in online ad agency W2O, which had bought Vintank in 2015.

 

Death slips out in Vin65 blog post

 

This post at the Vin65 is as close to a death notice as Wine Industry Insight could find: VinTank (recently rebranded as TMRW Engine) will no longer be supporting clients in the wine industry effective July 31, 2016

 

Wine Industry Insight reached out yesterday to Vintank founder Paul Mabray but has had no reply.

 

The closest explanation of the abrupt cancellation comes from this cached but now-non-existent page on the Vin65 which states:

 

“Mountaingate Capital, the firm that owns VinTank (recently rebranded as TMRW Engine), will cease operations of VinTank/TMRW Engine as of July 31, 2016. This means that as of July 31, you will not be able to log into the VinTank/TMRW Engine platform and order/social media data will no longer flow between Vin65 and VinTank/TMRW Engine.”

 

NOTE: In the event that the cached page (referenced above) is removed from the web, an archived image is available at: Vin65 archive image.

The deadly merger and investment trail

 

Vin65’s deal with Vintank was announded in 2013: WineDirect/Vin65 & VinTank Partner to Connect Social Media and Commerce.

 

Subsequently, the  deal between Vintank and W2O was announced to great fanfare in March of 2015: Vintank Acquired By Award-Winning Digital Agency.

 

Unnoticed by this publication, W2O sold a major equity stake to Mountaingate Capital in a deal announced this April.

 

Mountaingate Capital, a Denver-based private equity firm formed by some of the partners of KRG Capital.

 

Bullshit worthy of a 2016 Presidential campaign

 

In a rambling and cheerfully optimistic blog post — Building the Future Together — W2O Chairman & CEO Jim Weiss said “Mountaingate will not be involved in our day-to-day operations.”

 

Of course, that post failed to mention that Mountaingate was certainly going to be involved in the day-to-day operations of Vin65 and its many clients who have been left hanging.

 

Weiss also blogged that:

 

“…we have re-capitalized the firm to allow us to enhance our capabilities, expand our footprint, accelerate and facilitate talent acquisition, and drive faster innovation. This is our priority so we can continue to partner with clients at an increasing scale and quality.”

 

 Again, Vin65 customers now understand what a private equity firm means when it wants to enhance a company’s capabilities.
The statement that W2) was going to “continue to partner with clients at an increasing scale and quality,” actually translates to, “screw a certain number of clients with a spiraling decrease in services and quality.”

Requiem for a Vintank

 

Paul Mabray and James Jory founded Vintank in 2009 to provide winery and small business owners with an advanced social engagement and customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

 

This allowed clients to make sense of social media data and enable better marketing and communications with their markets. Vintank data has analyzed communications from more than 30 million social wine consumers and over 1,000 wine brands

 

Mabray has more than 20 years in the wine and technology industry. According to the acquisition announcement Mabray was the founder and CEO of the first and most successful wine ecommerce SaaS Company: WineDirect.com.

 

Jory has been a technologist for more than 25 years, and was the chief architect for eBay ProStores.