Founded in May 2019 by Nick King (CEO and co-founder) and Patrick Sanders (CTO and co-founder), Vint.co is on a mission to “securitize wine investing.” According to Sanders, Vint is the first widely-available wine investment platform open to everyone with a web browser and some funds to invest. “Vint makes it possible for anyone to invest and diversify in securitized collections of fine wine and rare spirits.”
According to Sanders, the idea for Vint came from CEO Nick King, who developed the concept while exploring the alternative asset space. Vint now has nine full-time employees, split between five on the business side and four on the product side.
Sanders chose Gatsby as the web framework and Contentful as the content management system for the Vint website. We were curious to hear more about why Vint chose Gatsby and Contentful, so we recently sat down with Sanders—who largely handled the design, development, and launch of the Vint website himself—to discuss Vint as a company, the development of the Vint website, and how embracing a Jamstack-powered web strategy has been an integral part of Vint’s digital marketing efforts.
Q. What were you hoping to achieve with your website launch before you selected any of the technologies used to create it?
A. When building out the site before launch, tooling selection was a big part of the decision. It’s a common issue of trying to jump in and start building, while also trying to foresee needs 6-12 months down the road. I was hoping to pick the right tooling for when it came time to scale, so that we could provide great UX with low latencies, while also having a great developer experience when creating new features. I am glad I picked the tooling I did, because we were set up for success before launch and we are still set up for the future!
Q. What made you choose Gatsby as your web framework?
A. I was looking for a framework to provide a great developer experience, a rich ecosystem of plugins for support, and a batteries-included environment to help with basic tasks that are easy to overlook.
Q. What are the other tools and frameworks you rely on for the development, deployment, and hosting of the Vint.co website?
A. In addition to Gatsby and React, I also used Jest and Cypress for automated testing, Contentful for our CMS, Lambda and Python, and we use AWS Serverless for our web hosting.
Q. What are the top 3-4 specific features of Gatsby that you rely on most for Vint.co?
A. We rely on GraphQL for data-sourcing at build time for all of our pages, as well as Gatsby’s inherent image optimization features. We also use Gatsby’s static site generation (SSG) page rendering mode with client-side rehydration to provide us the flexibility we need in more interactive areas of the site. Finally, we also rely on Gatsby’s lazy-load and pre-fetch capabilities as well.
Q. Why did you choose Contentful as your CMS platform?
A. We currently use Contentful for our blog. We picked Contentful because it had great documentation and an incredibly easy plugin to get up and running quickly. We intend to use it in more places on the site because the integration was so easy!
Q. Do you have any advice for Gatsby web developers who might be using the Gatsby framework to develop websites for the first time?
A. When working with any integrations, be sure to check out Gatsby’s extensive plugin library! There are a ton of integrations already done for you, and adding something new could be as easy as updating your Gatsby config file.
Q. Are there any specific Gatsby plugins or other tools that you’ve found especially useful?
A. The Remark + sharp plugins were a big help. Being able to isolate content creation from regular development cycles was a big help in increasing efficiencies on both our business and tech efforts.
Q. Do you have any stats on what your average build and deploy speeds are with Gatsby?
A. After clearing internal build caches, our full production build takes around 2 minutes to build. When leveraging caching, our builds are reduced to 20-40 seconds. Deployments to our CDN take < 10 seconds between uploading content and invalidating any cached paths. Thanks to our CI/CD setup, we normally can deploy changes within a minute!
Q. What was the installation/setup process like for you with Gatsby?
A. The setup process was pretty seamless after transitioning from a Single-Page-Application (SPA-first) mentality. The Common Features section was an incredible starting place that I kept coming back to when adding new features. Additionally, the rich ecosystem for plugins helped with any integration.
Q. Do you have any other stats related to the performance of your website you’d like to share?
A. Not at the moment! Our focus in the meantime has been on feature development. As we begin to scale up, we are well-suited with Gatsby for web performance improvements.
Q. Have you received any feedback from users on the Vint website with regards to site speed or ease of use?
A. Not particularly on site speed. We have had feedback that our setup process to begin investing is easy and intuitive.
Q. Any company growth stats you’d like to share?
A. We have done ~$1.5 million in gross investment volume (GIV) over the past 10 months, with investor growth in the ~20% m/m range.
Q. Any advice for someone just getting started with wine investing?
A. It’s never too late to get started! Wine is an incredible asset class that has been historically hard to access due to high minimums and antiquated investing vehicles. At Vint, you can fractionally invest in world-class wine and spirits for as little as $50.
I’d like to thank Patrick for taking the time to chat with us about his experience developing the Vint website with Gatsby and Contentful. For more information about Vint, check out the Vint website, Vint on Twitter (@InvestVint), and Vint on Instagram (@investVint). You can also subscribe to the Vint podcast at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Audible. To contact me with any questions about this interview, reach out to me on Twitter at @JeffJames3.