1 Min. With A Superhero: Andy Hadfield, Founder Of Real Time Wine

Ideate is super excited to be interviewing the founder of a brand new South African start-up: Andy Hadfield of Real Time Wine. Andy’s an experienced campaigner, and has been a fixture in the local social media and marketing scene for the past decade. After a stint as consultant to big corporates, Real Time Wine is Andy’s foray back into the start-up scene.

Andy, nice job on launching Real Time Wine with such a lot of noise on the social interwebs. Give us the scoop on the business model?

Hey thanks guys! Since you’re the first publication to ask that, sure – you can get the scoop. I’m going to do a massive Series A round based on the volume of tweets received and then sell to Facebook for $100 million dollars. Easy.


I kid.

No, seriously. We chose not to go the eCommerce or wine education route. There are plenty of people doing stellar work in that area. We want to promote wine sharing and wine discovery, so our product is based around the experience you have with wine. Future functionality will push hard down that path – things like being able to take a picture with every check in, be arty, vote the pics up and down to become that wine’s “representative picture”, etc. etc.

That means the business model is essentially based around data. For example, Real Time Wine will be able to answer questions like: Who are the active and influential wine drinkers in each country? What wine do people drink, where, when and what do they think of it?

After data comes utility. Have a look at the SPECIALS tab and you’ll get a little clue as to where that’s going.

Yes, we did – the specials feature looks very compelling. Are you planning to take over the world, or is it primarily SA focused?

I think South Africa is a great testing ground for applications. Although, I must say our market has been influenced, or spoiled, by US startups with a gazillion dollars that can roll out multiple native apps because they have entire armies of dedicated developers. There’s been a bit of confusion about why Real Time Wine is slightly slower than, say Foursquare. It’s because we use the web app, as opposed to the native app, approach. I believe it is a killer approach for startups in an African context. Immediate updates, easier cross platform compatibility. Quick to market. Native apps can always come next. And our data and phone performance stats are always getting better.

Then… the world.

You’ve launched Real Time Wine primarily as a mobile app and not as a website – any plans to create a large desktop version?

Don’t you dig our little render engine inside the faux iPhone frame? I do! Here’s the issue: do you really carry your laptop into the supermarket to buy wine? We’re all about owning that real time experience when you’re buying wine, drinking wine or sharing wine with friends – which suggests mobile.

Not having a specific website helps us focus on that goal. But hey, you can also use it off the web fine.

Good point. Andy, tell us how Real Time Wine came about.

Cool story. About 18 months ago, I suddenly realised that I was drinking a ton of really good wine, but never remember what the good stuff was. Wine is such a derived demand activity, that you just don’t have an easy way of sorting the good experiences from the average or bad ones. So I started tweeting the reviews, thinking I could go back through the timeline and search. Hah! Twitter only allows 4 days search history.

Next came an app called Wine Notes, which was really cool for recording wines, but forced me to sit in a corner for 15 minutes per bottle filling in all the data. I’d tweet from that just because… well… because… why DO we share everything these days?

Anyhoo. After a while, people starting coming up to me and going “dude, I buy anything you rate a 7/10 or higher”. I was like, “dude, who are you?”. But it was a clue that for some strange reason, people were listening. The twitter stream became a blog. The blog got some really kind and deep coverage from The Daily Maverick and Neil Pendock from Sunday Times – and boom! We won the Samsung Tech4Africa Best App competition. Closed an angel round with two very fine businessmen, Michael Jordaan and Mike Ratcliffe. I nabbed a good friend and successsful entrepreneur Josh Adler for an advisory board. Chatted to the guys at AngelHub to help manage and set us up for future rounds. Brought in Tim Bishop and his team of geniuses from Prezence Digital … and voila! Here we are today. In a paragraph nog al.

Lastly, who’s your SA entrepreneurial inspiration?
The entrepreneurs who give back. We’re seeing more and more businessmen getting involved in investing and mentoring startups, sitting on committees and advisory boards. That’s the only way we’re going to stimulate our ecosystem. I bow to you gentlemen and gentlewomen.

Thanks chaps – hope to see your wine moments coming through!

Well, I’m off to the Overberg and Elim wine region tomorrow for a holiday so I’ll let you know how it goes. Andy, congrats to you and your team, Josh, Tim, Mike and Michael and the AngelHub guys for a flying start. Ideate salutes you.

Check out the app here.

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