Formerly a police officer of six and a half years, Alex Habachi founded his e-commerce business Vinkind in 2016 with a £6,000 Start Up Loan via delivery partner X-Emergency Services (X-ES).
As an officer, Alex worked mainly on response in Hackney, before taking on a couple of training intakes and leading a proactive team in the north of the borough. But after some challenges in his personal life, and wanting to spend more time with his family, Alex took the plunge to start his own business, something he’d aspired to do for a long time.
“When I left the police, my family had been through a few difficulties, we’d had some losses. I thought this would be a good time to dedicate a bit more time to my wife and children, while also trying to launch a business; something that I’d always had an interest in, and something that I tried in my early twenties. So together as a family we took a decision – it was now or never, let’s give this a go.”
Alex set up Vinkind, an online platform that helps people discover and buy wine, and get recommendations, much like you’d get from Netflix or Spotify. But the journey towards business ownership wasn’t particularly smooth.
“We went into it quite naively, thinking we’d be spending loads of time in vineyards, importing wine, flying around and enjoy ourselves. The realities of day-to-day business really kicked in! We went from selling wine on market stalls, to opening a small shop which was also a coffee shop. We sold that at the end of 2020 and moved into the world of e-commerce and tech.”
Alex received funding and 12 months of free mentoring support through the Start Up Loans scheme, via delivery partner X-ES.
“That was the first bit of external finance that we got, in the form of a loan. I went through the Start Up Loans website and was put in touch with X-ES. I had a lot of support from the team, with drawing up a business plan, doing financial models, making sure we had all our licences, and setting everything up with Companies House.”
Currently in the middle of a crucial round of fundraising, Alex touches on what the future holds for Vinkind:
“At every stage, our business becomes more and more sophisticated, we understand our customers better, we understand our product better. It’s all about capitalising on that and making sure we grow properly. That we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves, but ultimately that the ambition is there to build a large sustainable business that works properly.”