An insight into Vivino – the world’s most downloaded wine app
The story of Vivino is still being written, but numerous learnings have been done already and reaching today’s success has been a long journey.
So, what does it take to succeed as a company? According to Co-Founder and CPO Theis Søndergaard the first and most important task is to choose your business partner with care. Choose someone you get energy from working with – the upstart takes a lot of effort but is only the beginning – so find someone you can work with for the long haul.
No pick and choose among investors
When Vivino was looking for funding the investors did not line up – a situation that many founders will meet. Choosing the right investor is a luxury problem that you most likely won’t have at any point of the upscaling journey, Theis shares. In general, attracting investors is a difficult task so your energy might be used better in finding any funding to begin with and have an outset for growing your business.
Dilution is unavoidable, Theis explains. In Vivino the founders do not have a large stake in the company anymore; actually no one has larger stakes than 20% in the company. It can sometimes be more profitable to dilute shares and thereby get funding to grow your business 30-60x instead of grinding for the sake of keeping large shares yourself.
A proven track record
A proven track record as a founder is a huge help, and this has helped Vivino a lot. Investors need trust and a proven track record that can enhance a company’s investment potential. Make use of your own “sour-dough”, build on your own experiences and successes, and remember to include this in company pitches.
Another thing Vivino has experienced is not to be afraid of bridge rounds – despite what you might hear, this has actually been very fruitful for Vivino.
Local versus global
Theis also points out that staying local can be useful in order to make sure you ‘speak’ the same business language. In Vivino we experienced that the culture gap between Denmark and the US in terms of doing business can be large and quite noticeable. In the US, it is quite common for example to exaggerate your business demeanours which is not part of Danish business culture. Therefore, it can be profitable to look for local investors that have the same approach to doing business as yourself.
Love what you do but stay realistic
And almost most importantly, Theis says make sure that the core of your business is something you get great energy and happiness from. Take a moment and consider if the dream of starting your own business prevents you from seeing the pitfalls. Once you have achieved funding or your business starts making a revenue, you will be confronted with the reality of your business area. And when you get there, Theis says, it is important that you generally enjoy what you do.