YN Mobile App


When your product comes out of a manufacturing culture best described as “an aged process,” it can run into daunting hurdles in today’s business world of high-speed Internet and instant Wi-Fi connectivity. Fortunately, the business world — specifically, wine retailers — now have a way to overcome these hurdles, thanks to YN Group’s recently unveiled mobile platform, the YN app. 


Compelled by her penchant for business, wine and emerging technologies, YN Group founder and CEO Jai Jai (pronounced Jay Jay) R. Greenfield has successfully produced a viable hybrid of technology, business and niche culture to satisfy the demands of today and address the expectations of tomorrow. Her innovation is a lesson in breaching the barriers of exclusivity while staying true to culture and experience. “The YN app is a custom-branded mobile and cloud-based technology for wine stores to connect with their customers,” Greenfield explains in a video demonstration. “There’s convenience, when I can order and browse at any point —when I’m stuck in traffic or having just dropped off my kids in the morning.”


There is nothing “aged” about the app’s geo-locator or data analytics functions that allow a retailer to bridge the customer-information gap. The analytics tool kit allows store managers to analyze data and track results, including when customers enter the store, likes and dislikes and their transaction history. The app’s geo-locator function, meanwhile, allows the retailer to automatically send discount offers and notifications of specialty items and sales to the mobile device of customers when they are in the vicinity of a retailer. It also tracks stock and supply, informing the retailer when inventory is dwindling. On the customer side, the app allows a user to take a picture of a bottle of wine he or she likes and send the image to a retailer for ordering and ultimately purchasing.   


Greenfield may not have had “revolutionizing the wine industry” in mind when she created her app, but that precisely is what she has done. A self-proclaimed “entrepreneurial strategist” and “wine industry visionary,” she has more than a decade’s experience creating and implementing successful solutions in the wine and spirits industry. She became a wine enthusiast while earning a master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and gained greater exposure to the industry and its culture when her Wall Street job required her to host and order at client dinners, and while consulting for wine bars located in airports.  


She took a huge risk when she left her budding career in institutional and equity sales and trading at Morgan Stanley in New York to open what would become a landmark wine store in Manhattan’s Harlem community. In 2008, Time Out New York magazine hailed her Harlem Vintage and Nectar Wine Bar “One of the Best Wine Bars in 2008.” When the venue closed four years later — a victim of a tumultuous economy and skyrocketing real estate rates in Harlem — Greenfield put aside the notion of a brick-and-mortar establishment and turned to the digital space. “This last year I’ve been working dedicatedly so in combining all of those previous experiences in thinking about and then finding customers to put something out on the market of how and why mobile can be that link to connect wine stores to their customers,” she said in July as a participant in this year’s Techstars N.Y.C. Startup Accelerator Program. 


Over the last six months, she has identified the skills she needs on her team to “really do the scale out [of the app] to the next hundred stores,” she says, adding that she hopes her participation in Techstars will give her the mentors, advisers and capital  “to meld and incubate” the team she has already formed.