Like beauty and style, wine can be very subjective – which is why Clément Hochart launched Epicurio, a dedicated social wine and spirits marketplace to help you in your quest for the perfect glass.
It’s no surprise then that the entrepreneurship started with his immense love for wine. The French native swapped an illustrious career in engineering to pursue his passion for the beverage – a move that surely paid off, judging from the project’s overwhelming success. Today, Epicurio is not only a platform for ordering wine, but also one where wine enthusiasts can come together to take notes, rate and comment on their favourites. Though based in Singapore, the mobile app has seen an expansion to four countries in Asia, with a supply of more than 2000 quality wine labels. We sat down with the affable founder to find out about how he overcame entrepreneurial challenges, his future plans for the business, and some of his personal favourites.
It took two years for the app to go from an idea to reality. What were the challenges you faced and lessons you’ve learnt in the process?
I was previously an engineer in the steel industry, so Epicurio is not only my first company, but also my first time in the wine or mobile business. It took one year to build the beta version of the app and I realized that it was hard for the business to take off if I’m doing it part-time.
I saw a big growth after Nikhil Gupta joined (Epicurio’s CTO and co-founder) and we launched the app developed by our own team, which he manages. We could adapt to what the market wanted faster than if we worked with external developers. Honestly, Nikhil’s role is key and I feel like Epicurio, as it is today, would not be possible without his input. He is the architect of our innovations, both on the back-end with systems and the UX (user experience) for anyone using our app.
Actually, it isn’t really about learning lessons but realizing that developing the app is a continuous process and that’s what’s exciting. We keep learning and we keep moving.
Are there any plans for expansions to other spirits such as beer or whisky?
We’ve started exploring whisky via Epicurio, and as with wine, we’re confident in providing the same value-added experience to our users. We’re not yet ready to start on beer but we’re looking into how our technology and platforms can be applied to it in a separate product. Our main objective currently is to achieve a strong presence in Asia – being present in 90% of the cities and to be available in all Asia-Pacific countries.
We’re sure you have a long list of favorites when it comes to wine. What are some of them?
I enjoy Rhone Valley, Hermitage, Languedoc, New Zealand pinot noir, Californian Sonoma County, Italian Barolo, New Zealand and Australian riesling… I’ve never asked myself what my favorite wine is – I enjoy diversity!