NBTV Raises $10 Million for Spirits Purchasing Experience

By Jemima McEvoy Sunday, April 25, 2021

NBTV has raised $10 million in a Series A round. After expanding for years, the New York-based D2C (direct-to-consumer) ecommerce business is launching a new Spirits Network channel. The company is hoping to seize on recent momentum in the alcohol ecommerce industry with the launch of this unique purchasing experience.

Assorted bottles of alcohol.

What Is NBTV?

NBTV is a DTC commerce and personalization platform. The company was initially launched in 2008 by entrepreneur Nick Buzzell as a studio producing branded content for large enterprises. Though the company still produces branded content, it is now more technologically advanced. In 2018, Buzzell created a new division of the company, NBTV Channels, which produces marketing content for businesses that can also be used to purchase the products — in other words, shoppable platforms. To produce this, the company uses OTT (over-the-top), mobile, and integrated commerce technology.

The most recent iteration of this is the Spirits Network channel, which is a channel where shoppers can purchase alcohol directly from the screen. In a recent interview with Crunchbase about the expansion of his business, Buzzell likened the platform to a “Netflix meets QVC” experience. “We were doing shoppable video commerce prior to COVID-19, but saw the opportunity and the writing on the wall in terms of people wanting instant gratification,” Buzzell said, noting that a key tactic of his business is to be a “specialist instead of a generalist.”

Money and Investors

It’s unclear exactly how much the company has raised to date. According to Crunchbase, NBTV pulled in $100,000 in a seed round in March of last year and then raised an undisclosed sum of money in April. In addition to the $10 million raised in the Series A round, the business raised another $5 million toward the launch of the Spirits Network channel, Buzzell told Crunchbase.

This funding for the business came from Branded Strategic Hospitality, a New York-based venture capital firm, family offices, and a group of angel investors. Also involved in the round were David Nichols, the president of Spirit Networks, and high-net-worth investors Mark Bezos and John Esposito.

The Future of the Company

The Spirits Network launch comes after a strong few years of growth for NBTV. The company has seen its customer base grow more than 500% since 2018, when NBTV Channels were launched, with 35% of customers purchasing on a regular basis. Customers are also spending more money through the platform, according to Buzzell, who said the average cart size has increased from $100 to $200 as the channels gain millions of views per month.

With Spirits Network, the company is hoping to tap into a massive boom in demand in the alcohol ecommerce market. A report from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, which tracks the industry, projected that the global ecommerce market for spirits and wines nearly doubled in 2020 (increasing 42%). By comparison, alcohol ecommerce sales grew just 19% in 2019. The number of alcohol ecommerce shoppers has also massively increased specifically within the US, the analysis shows.

This amounts to a growing potential customer base for NBTV. However, alcohol isn’t the only focus of the company. According to the founder, this will likely be a jumping-off point for the business to expand in other segments. “We see NBTV channels as a new category in direct-to-consumer advertising and monetization as it relates to sales,” Buzzell told Crunchbase.

About the Author

Headshot of Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

Related Articles