Did someone say wine?
30 November 2021
“Wine list please?” - a simple question which raises so many others. Red, white, rosé, sparkling, sweet, dry, fruity, light, medium, full-bodied, French, Portuguese, German, Italian?… the options are endless, but where to start from? If you’re a wine lover but often find yourself in this confusing situation, Vinotyp got you covered. Inspired by this concern at the table, Vinotyp combines education and wine where, depending on the client’s taste and palate, suggested wines are delivered right to your door accompanied with ideal food pairing notes. Life on Point reached out to Steven Galea Pace to tell us more about it.
Tell us about your idea, your vision and your dream… What inspired you to develop your idea?
The concept of Vinotyp was initially my partner’s idea - Andrew Borg Costanzi. A mutual friend introduced us and we were talking about doing business together within an hour. He’s a wine lover, obtaining his wine qualifications just for fun, and saw a need for a subscription service that helps people choose wine, as the majority of people have no idea how to do this.
For us, the dream is to one day create something that gives incredible value to people, something we can grow to a huge scale. This is our first stepping stone into the world of wine. Our main requirement in whatever we do is to be working on a really ambitious project that could be huge. It can’t be anything run-of-the-mill that will just be a decent income stream for us.
How does the start-up help you accomplish your life’s goals?
Starting a company is exciting at every corner. Money isn’t really the main driver, it’s more about excitement. Each small thing, like getting a new sale, finding a better supplier, and creating a great advert boosts our adrenaline so much, even if the scale of operations is small for now. Every little thing is a step in the right direction and keeps us going.
How much time do you spend working on your business each day?
What has been your most satisfying moment in business so far?
Seeing one of our wine tasting events at Terrone packed out. It was the first of our wine events I could be at. It was cool to see something I created actually happen.
Why did you decide to become a business owner?
I like the idea of changing the way we buy things, competing with people head to head and dreaming about what I could possibly create one day in the future.
What does success mean to you?
Not packing wines in a box at 3am after a Friday night out.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
That we will have another episode like the great depression, war or very high inflation because of poor management of the economy, making it much more difficult for any business idea I have to thrive. I think things like this seem very outlandish and highly unlikely since we’ve had a strong economy and peace in recent history, but the prospect of these big events is probably higher than we think in my opinion. Personally, I take a pessimistic view to all my expectations so I’m ready for any outcome. Forecasts are always very conservative, the expected future is always a bad economy, that a low amount of people will like my idea and so on. If an idea can still be worthwhile under these harsh expectations, you’re probably onto something good.
Looking back at your entrepreneurial journey so far, if you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
Have enough savings to sustain the company for at least a while. Starting off from a point where you need funding towards the beginning of your journey makes it tough since you’re trying to get funding while still proving the concept, making it difficult for any investor or lender to buy in. If you can at least fund the company to the stage where the company is somewhat sustainable, you’re probably more likely to get any funding you need. This is one thing we did wrong – a lesson for the future.
What would you consider to be the biggest challenges for aspiring entrepreneurs in your industry?
Getting a loan. The banking system is not up to date for tech oriented businesses at all. Too much bureaucracy with it too. Why does it take me 7 months to set up a bank account in Malta when it took me an hour to set up a business bank account with a financial technology company that offers banking services?
Government grants are good and I appreciate the help. They could be improved by reducing the red tape and complexity. Start-ups need to be able to make quick, flexible decisions due to changing environments, which grants are not usually supportive of.
How do you see yourself in two years time? How do you foresee your growth path?
All I know is that I want to grow a very big company that provides something useful to society, while exciting me as a product. I can’t tell how Vinotyp will fair, but I will keep trying until I achieve this, be it with Vinotyp or a new company. On a personal level, whatever happens to Vinotyp, my life won’t change much. I’ll still drive the same car, live in the same place and enjoy the same simple life.