A podcast by students of Stanford University's Business and Design Schools


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Alyssa Rapp, Founder and CEO of Bottlenotes

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Alyssa Rapp is the Founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, an online wine retail business that helps individuals discover and learn about wine. Alyssa started the company while at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she headed the school's 500-person wine club. In this interview, Alyssa gives key insights on starting and running a hybrid online retail business, talks about her personal and entrepreneurial story for Bottlenotes, and gives leads to the most amazing wine regions in the world. Her goal for Bottlenotes, she says, is to create the "Pandora of wine".

Alyssa earned a B.A. in Political Science and the History of Art from Yale University in 2000 and an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2005. In between her first and second years in business school, she spearheaded the sales and marketing efforts at RO Imports, an importer of boutique New Zealand wines in New York.

Thanks to Julio, iinnovate emeritus, and Roger for contributing to this interview.

- Min Liu


Anonymous said...

One-year-old Bottlenotes, Inc. wants to do for wine clubs what Netflix has done for DVD rentals. The Palo Alto (Calif.)-based startup runs a Web site that matches wines to customers' personal tastes much like Netflix recommends movies. New members answer an online questionnaire and then receive their first shipment of wines based on their responses. They rate the wines online and then receive another, more customized shipment. In theory, the wines should get better with more ratings. (I hope it works better than Netflix, which still recommends Chicken Little to me after 483 ratings.) The company's board includes Netflix co-founder Jim Cook, Cakebread Cellars winery founder and CEO Jack Cakebread, and Tiger Management hedge fund founder Julian Robertson, who is also an investor. Founder and CEO Alyssa Rapp is a Stanford MBA who formerly worked at RO Imports, a startup importer of New Zealand wines. Co-founder Kimberly Donaldson has consulted on marketing for various wineries. Bottlenotes raised a first round of $637,504 in March from Robertson and 12 other accredited investors--a pittance by Silicon Valley standards and perhaps an indication that this venture requires little startup capital.

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