Food & Drink

Vivino Continues Watershed Year In Online Wine Sales With $155 Million In Funding And CEO Appointment

It was only about ten years ago that Danish entrepreneur Heini Zachariassen co-founded Vivino, the world’s largest wine app. Fast-forward to today where the company has 50 million users in 17 different countries, with wine sales of more than $265 million in 2020, double their 2019 revenues.

This is a company that doesn’t rest on its laurels, with continuing innovation and expansion over the years. Recently they launched a new ‘Wine Match for You’ feature on the app, that uses machine learning to give wine drinkers a percentage likelihood that they will enjoy a specific wine. Today they have also announced the appointment of a new CEO, Olivier Grémillon. Zachariassen is not stepping down but will serve as a full-time advisor to Olivier and remain on the board of directors.

In a recent interview, Zachariassen explained some of the reasons behind the success of Vivino. “We have always been focused on the user and the problems they want to solve,” he explained. “When I had that experience of standing in front of an enormous wall of wine at my local supermarket all those year ago, and not knowing which one to buy, I realized that other people had the same problem. That is why we started this company.”

When the Vivino app was first launched it was primarily a platform for users to share their reviews and ratings on the wines they had tasted. However it quickly expanded to a place that consumers could also purchase wine. By creating partnerships with over 700 wine retailers in multiple locations, users have access to purchase nearly 13 million wines from around the world. The program has been so successful that now there is a waitlist of retailers trying to gain approval to be on the Vivino app.

About Vivino’s New ‘Wine Match for You’ Feature

The idea for the new ‘Wine Match for You’ feature came about with the growing number of consumers using the app. “We started to realize,” said Zachariassen, “that we weren’t just an app company anymore – we are a data company. The more users that engaged with the app, the more we learned about the types of wine they preferred. With this information, we could help them find new wines that they may enjoy. It’s almost like we could be a ‘wine dating app.’”

“We were also inspired by Netflix

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,” continued Zachariassen. He explained that just like Netflix makes recommendations on movies people may enjoy, based on their viewing history, Vivino can help consumers learn more about their own taste preferences to discover new wines and regions they might never have considered otherwise.

So far, user feedback on the new feature has been very positive. “We’ve added a question that asks users how well the wine matched their preferences, and right now 94% have told us it was a good match,” Zachariassen reported.

In February of this year, Vivino closed a $155 million Series D funding round, which helped the company employ the resources it needed to launch Match For You.

Olivier Grémillon Announced as New Vivino CEO

Given that in 2020 Vivino doubled its annual revenues, spurred on by the Covid online wine buying frenzy, Zachariassen and his team decided the timing was right to bring in a new CEO, Olivier Grémillon, effective July 26, 2021.

“As this past year clearly shifted consumer habits to purchasing more wine online, it felt like the right time to bring in a new leader with the skills and experience to take our business to the next stage in its development and accelerate our growth from where we are today,” said Zachariassen.

Grémillon takes the reins of Vivino with a good track record, having previously led demonstrable growth at Booking.com and Airbnb. Furthermore, Zachariassen will stay on to provide advice, and will remain Vivino’s chief evangelist.

“This is the perfect moment to join Vivino,” said Grémillon. “With ten years of data collected from nearly two billion wine label scans and hundreds of millions of unbiased reviews and ratings, no one is better placed than Vivino to bring wine drinkers of the world closer to the wines they love.”


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