42: Why 17 Million Wine Lovers Love Using Vivino App
So many of us have been guilty of walking up and down the supermarket aisle staring at the vast wall of wine, struggling to figure out which one to buy.
I found myself wondering why there wasn’t a solution out there. Then I came across an app called Vivino. With Vivino you take a picture of a bottle of wine in the supermarket and it will give you all the relevant information along with ratings and reviews.
When I heard this app has over 16 million users I felt compelled to find out more. Please welcome the CEO of Vivino who is going to tell us about this app and how it’s changing the traditional way of looking for that bottle of wine.
Welcome to the show. Can you introduce yourself and tell me a little bit more about what you do?
My name is Heini Zachariassen. I’m the CEO and founder of Vivino. I’m originally from Scandinavia and lived in Copenhagen many years. I’m a software entrepreneur and started Vivino back in 2010 and since then it’s been going incredibly well.
I think you’ve got a fascinating story. I love the fact that you moved from the internet security world to Vivino, the world’s largest wine community. Were you nervous about stepping into this new world?
I was working in software security, which is boring as hell so we really needed to find something else and we found wine attractive. Sometimes it just takes someone who is naïve and a little bit stupid to do something like this. So I wasn’t nervous at all but I think people in the industry looked at us and said these guys have no clue what they’re doing.
Am I correct in saying Vivino is the most downloaded wine app with sixteen and a half million users? Is it fair to say it’s sort of a “Trip Advisor” for wines? What do you think the secret to its success actually is?
Yes, definitely like a Trip Advisor for wine, Yelp for wine, some people call it Shazam for wine too because of the ability to scan any bottle of wine and get the information right away. We’re at 17 million users now with 30,000 new users every single day so it’s growing at a rapid pace.
I’ve said many times recently how slow the retail and restaurant industry is to react to this digital age of instant gratification. Do you think the wine industry was too slow to adapt?
Yes but these are small companies owned by small families in some cases and it’s hard for them to really follow all the technology that gets out there. But yes they have to be ready for this technology. We decided early on that we were not going to wait for anybody. We made a decision and said we’re going to build the data ourselves. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve had big success.
I think one of the most exciting and interesting things is about your experiences innovating in a traditional environment. Was that frustrating to begin with? And how rewarding was it when you finally turned that corner?
We feel like we know the true message. We know which direction it’s going and it is super frustrating when the industry doesn’t see that. But at some point you turn a corner because now the users are seeing it, they have seen the advantage of using an app like ours. And suddenly the industry turns around and says wow they have 17 million users. We need to look at this as something that’s real and serious. I think if you can create a movement, create a community, get people on board the rest will follow.
Can you explain how technology has changed at Vivino since you first started?
The technology we have is based on two things called pattern recognition technology. On top of that, we built an OCR technology which actually reads the text. And what’s really better is the speed. It’s really fast now and only takes a few seconds to get an answer looking through our 8.8 million wines. So that technology improves every single day.
But I really want to add to that the missing link of this was not the technology, it was actually the data. Nobody had the data and pictures on all these millions of wines. We now have a quarter of a billion different pictures of wines.
What’s next on the horizon for you guys?
This year is a lot about getting our monetization working. Our model is e-commerce so we want to not only help the user get the rating on the wine; we want them to be able to buy the bottle of wine. We currently have 13,000 wine merchants on the platform that our users can buy from. So a lot of this year is about that.
Why should users download the app?
They should download the app because we will help them find their next wine. Wherever they are we’ll give them the confidence to pick the right bottle of wine for drinking, going to a party or giving as a gift. It’s free on the app store and Google Play.
What’s the best way of reaching out to you?
Just go to www.vivino.com and we will point you towards where you can download the app. We also have great content on there for anyone who is interested in learning more about wine and Vivino.
Neil also wrote an article on INC magazine called How This Startup Is Disrupting The Traditional Wine Industry about Vivino.