Vivino Startup Story: How Vivino Became the Powerhouse of Wine Retail

Vivino Startup Story: How Vivino Became the Powerhouse of Wine Retail
January 19, 2023 Off By zswes45sd

If wine is your thing, there’s a good chance you’ve used Vivino for recommendations at least a few times. 

More than 60 million people have downloaded the Vivino app for Android and Apple devices, which is an online wine marketplace. Vivino was founded in 2010 by Heini Zachariassen and Theis Søndergaard. As of 2022, Vivino had a wine database containing more than 15.8 million different wines and nearly 61 million users. Vivino’s corporate office is located in San Francisco, California, in the United States, but it also has a number of subsidiaries, one of which is in Denmark, where the company was first founded. 

Since 2010, the Vivino app and the business that created it have been helping people enjoy better wine, and the startup has now raised $155 million in its Series D round. Vivino wants to use the significant infusion of cash to improve its core technology and personalized recommendation engine while boosting its presence in important global growth markets. 

What is Vivino?

Vivino was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, whereas its headquarters are located in California and San Francisco. The app provides ratings, reviews, and prices for wines. Ussr can easily scan the labels of the wine they want to know about and get the required information they need. Users can also order wine, and Vivino will be able to deliver it to their door, depending on the region. Over the years, Vivino has been evolving towards becoming a full-fledged wine marketplace.  

Beginning of Vivino 

Zachariassen came to the realization that the majority of the wine-related apps were run by seasoned wine experts, whereas his area of expertise was in technology and software. 

Vivino was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Heini Zachariassen and Theis Søndergaard. The company launched an iPhone app in July 2011. 

There were many knowledge, sustainability, and reach gaps that needed to be filled, and they succeeded in doing so. Many people believe that the unfamiliarity that the founders had with wine was the reason why this app turned out to be so relevant for the users, who might be equally clueless about wines. 

In July 2013, Vivino raised $ 10.3 Million US dollars from Balderton Capital and Creandum. In January 2016, the company raised a series B round of venture funding of $ 25 Million dollars  from SCP Neptune. In February 2018, Vivano raised $20 million in a Series C round that also included Balderton Capital, Creandum, SEED Capital Denmark, and Iconical, and was co-led by SCP Neptune International. 

Former StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis was named Executive Officer by Vivino in March 2018

In 2021, Vivino raised a Series D round of $ 155 million dollars led by Swedish based investment firm Kinnevik with Sprints Capital accompanying as a new investor. Additional participants include GP Bullhound and existing early-stage investor Creandum.

Vivino turning into a Marketplace

Heini Zachariassen, CEO and co-founder, had always intended to develop this modest wine rating app into the ultimate wine marketplace. Especially with the e-commerce market booming at the rate it is, a marketplace seemed to be the best direction to take the app. Vivino marketplace, a new recommendation service platform was launched considering the demand of the general public. One of the drawbacks of this plan was that people did not like to order wine online. 

Theis Søndergaard argues that purchasing wine by bottle is simpler and more frequent than purchasing it by the case, and that anyone ordering wine delivery would only do so if they were purchasing it by the case. 

Vivino and Covid-19 Pandemic

Prior to the pandemic, wine’s e-commerce share was less than 5%; as a result of the pandemic’s widespread closure of bars and restaurants, this percentage significantly increased. Experts claim that wine e-retail has increased by 103% globally, and in the UK, these numbers have increased by 114%. Seeing the growth of Vivino, the team is eager to venture deeper into the UK market.

Vivino has doubled its online wine sales to $ 265 million in revenue, and for the first time, they have broken even on earnings; from the looks of it, they are confident that it will be able to maintain the momentum and eventually turn profitable. 

Milestones of the Vivino Startup Story 

Here is the Vivino timeline. From its inception until the present, when it is making history in the field of wine e-commerce. 

  • In 2010, Vivino was started by co-founders Heini Zachariassen and Theis Søndergaard.
  • In 2011, the Vivino app was launched for Apple devices. 
  • In 2012, Vivino won the Danish Growth Award and Entrepreneur of the year in the GP Bullhound Investor Allstars Awards. 
  • In 2013, in their series A round of funding, Vivino raised $ 10.13 million from Balderton Capital and Creandum.
  • In 2016, the company healed its series B round of funding and raised $ 25 million from SCP Neptune. 
  • In 2017, the Vivino app launched a new recommendations service, the Vivino market, which gives customers recommendations based on their previous searches and purchases. 
  • In 2018, the company raised $20 million in its series C funding from SCP Neptune, Balderton Capital, GP Bullhound, and their early-stage investor Creandum. 

It is astonishing to contemplate that, unlike its contemporaries, Vivino has wonderfully managed to make wine more accessible. Their ambition and growth have lined up with their philosophy. They are slowly on their way to becoming the powerhouse of wines.