Jennifer Tremblay is putting a sommelier in your pocket

Jennifer Tremblay is putting a sommelier in your pocket

Who: Jennifer Tremblay, founder and CEO of Somm, an app for finding, pairing and buying wine
Company HQ: Distillery District
Founded: 2020
Employees: 8

How it works: “It’s like having a sommelier in your pocket. Download the app, answer a few questions, then get wine recommendations, whether you’re staying home, eating out or shopping at the LCBO. It can even make suggestions based on variety, region, cost or pairing with a specific dish. There’s also a built-in wine marketplace that lets you order right from restaurants, wineries, and importers.”

Eureka moment: “When quarantine started, I noticed an explosion in e-commerce in the food and beverage sector. People were embracing home cooking, but at the same time, very few of them knew much about wine. I wanted to create a fun, disarmingly simple tool to help people find the right pairings.”

How much you spent initially: “$45,000 of my own money. It went toward building the minimum viable product and doing some market research.”

Your turning point: “When we first launched, we had maybe 150 downloads a day. We decided not to spend much money on marketing campaigns, instead just telling friends and family about the app. It grew organically from there. When wine sellers started reaching out to us, unsolicited, asking to get on our platform, we knew we were on to something. Now, we get roughly 1,200 downloads a day.”

Your big-time backers: “We raised just over $2 million, with significant investments from KJSM Ventures and Highlander Wine and Spirits.”


Coolest thing in your office: “My dog Jarvis. He’s a basenji, a rare breed from Africa that kind of looks like a fox. We hang out all day, every day.”

Typical work-from-home attire: “Tennis clothes. I try to get out and play as much as possible, so I’ll often wear a tennis dress around the house.”

The best advice you’ve received: “If you’ve got a vision, surround yourself with really supportive people and don’t waste time on anyone else.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “ ‘Slow down.’ It’s demoralizing for young, ambitious people to hear something like that.”

Marc Benioff

Your tech role model: “Marc Benioff from Salesforce. He was one of the first major CEOs to eliminate the gender pay gap at his company.”

Tech jargon you hate: “The word ‘synergize’ is used way too often. I find it cringeworthy.”  

App you can’t live without: “I’m obsessed with I love looking at interior design, and I find the Toronto real estate market fascinating.”