Happy New Year: French winemaker provides funds and bubbly to Kickstarter projects

Luc Belaire dedicated its entire marketing budget to helping entrepreneurs reach their goals, then helping them celebrate

The new year is fast approaching, and the airwaves will soon be flooded with fizzy commercials for Champagne and sparkling wine. But French wine brand Luc Belaire is making different use of its ad budget this year, helping Kickstarter projects meet their goals — and then helping them celebrate. 

In collaboration with Fallon, the nearly 120-year-old winemaker searched through Kickstarter and donated thousands of dollars to a variety of companies, including tech startups HAIZE and Atlas C57, the Pixel Vision game, VR film "Blackout," The Unsplash Book and NWHL: History Begins

The money Luc Belaire donated helped every company — most of which were close to begin with — meet their goal. After fully funding the projects, the company followed up by sending each a 15-liter "Nebuchadnezzar" bottle of its signature sparkling wine — priced at nearly $3,000.

So far, the project has cost the winemaker about $25,000 in donations. The wine was extra.

"Entrepreneurship and being self-made is in the DNA of Luc Belaire," said Patrick Figueroa, creative director at Fallon. "So it made sense to want to show love to people who share the same values. There is no better place to find those people than in the startup world."

Luc Belaire spent its entire marketing budget for 2015 on the campaign, Figueroa noted, so not much advertising has been done beyond social media and PR promotion using the #BelaireBacked hashtag. Though at least one funded company was grateful enough to tweet a virtual subway ad for its benefactor. 

"The criteria to pick a project is actually pretty simple: would the world be a cooler place with this thing around?" Figuero said. "Sometimes it's big project, sometimes it's a small one, but we apply that simple filter to it during the selection process."

The company plans to keep donating to projects during the first months of 2016, he added. 

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