How Our Founders Built BottlesXO & What They Learned On the Way

BottlesXO is turning three! On the eve of our 3rd Anniversary, we sat down with our three co-founders – Thilo Fuchs, Mischa Schulze and Zou Zhengfang – to get some insight into the three-year journey of your favourite delivery app for super-fast, chilled bottles.

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Zou Zhengfang, Angel Investor Joerg Winkelman, Thilo Fuchs & Mischa Schulze

What was your dream for BottlesXO when you started three years ago?

Mischa: We wanted to create an easy, cool experience, where one gets a decent bottle as quickly and as reasonably priced as everything else in China. Quality products for a reasonable price, chilled. Everywhere.

“…a decent bottle of wine for myself in Shanghai, which at the time was literally impossible to find.”

Thilo: Initially, my dream was to have a decent bottle of wine for myself in Shanghai, which at the time was literally impossible to find. When we started to look into it we understood that the drinks business in general hadn’t had a proper renewal for decades. We thought it would be amazing to create a beverage service that is urban-focused and made for the next generation of people.

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Zou: Establishing a disruptive model in the traditional wine and beverage industry, satisfying the unmet needs of various customers, and becoming an important role in the Asian beverage market all while being an admirable, cool service brand.

What’s your favorite (or the funniest) memory of BottlesXO over the years?

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Mischa: I remember when we did one of the first big promotions, sending a push to the phones of all our customers offering some great discount. We underestimated the effect and everybody in the office had to run out and help deliver. On bikes, by taxi, walking… it was nuts.

“It was nuts”

Zou: When we started at Fuxing Road, using a small rented space as a combination delivery hub and tasting venue. No signs, no name, tiny space, complaining neighbors, enthusiastic early customers, and a small team of dedicated people.

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Thilo: I remember the first time when one of our drivers delivered our bottles and spoke to us politely in a little bit of English, with a smile, and said “I am from BottlesXO, here is your wine”. It was a delight.

What’s the future got in store for BottlesXO?

Mischa: A lot. We’re tech-driven and are working on exciting new features, and we also intend to expand into more cities in China soon. We’re permanently improving and expanding our product range, and indeed there are great things to come.

“We want to use technological advances to allow our own tech to disappear on one hand and be always with you on the other hand.”

Thilo: Our vision is to create a direct connection from producer to end consumer. We’re a tech startup. We want to use technological advances to allow our own tech to disappear on one hand and be always with you on the other hand.

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Zou: I hope the future of BottlesXO will be just like what we dreamed of. But, in order to get to the future, we need to focus on our present and do our best every day.

If you were stuck on a desert island with one BottlesXO bottle… which one would it be?

Mischa: That would be an ice-cold bottle of de Venoge’s Blanc de Blancs Champagne.

Thilo: If I’m on an island that means there will be a beach, and that also means there will be a sunset. For that I’d want to have a nice bottle of gin and a nice tonic to make a beautiful gin and tonic as the sun goes down.

“I’m very confident in our wine curation: they’re all good!”

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Zou: I’m very confident in our wine curation: they’re all good! So I would simply choose the biggest one, a magnum bottle of Champagne. I’m sure the bubbles will help cheer me up a bit on a desert island.

What has changed the most for you and BottlesXO over the years?

Zou: Besides having much more grey hair (and hopefully more wisdom as well), I’ve come to realize that some small wheels need to be turned in order to successfully turn the big ones, Wise entrepreneurs might see all the wheels at very beginning. Most of us only see a few of the wheels on the way, and only truly see the bigger wheels when the small ones are turned.

“Most of us only see a few of the wheels on the way, and only truly see the bigger wheels when the small ones are turned.”

Thilo: When we started BottlesXO three years ago, China was a completely different place, especially technologically. Now, mobile payment and the mobile lifestyle is everywhere and accessible to everyone in a much bigger way, and many players are catching up. We keep striving to stay ahead of the curve and keep innovating every day.

Mischa: In the past three years the world has been changing, for good and bad. For us, over the past years, the biggest change and the most amazing thing has been that we’ve kept growing and we’re starting to see our dreams turn into reality.

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The BottlesXO Shanghai team in 2018

Try our app for yourself and get our selection of wines, craft beers, premium spirits and cocktail sets delivered to wherever you are in Shanghai, Suzhou, Hong Kong and Singapore. Click here to download the BottlesXO app.