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How the Vivino app grew its user base by 29,000% by helping people find the perfect wine

Zack Guzman
Senior Writer

Finding the perfect wine for your palette — particularly at the right price — can be a daunting challenge.

For software developer Heini Zachariassen, the stress of landing on a bottle became so palpable he set out to create the app Vivino, which lets users scan a wine to find ratings and prices online.

“For me it was a personal problem, I think wine is hard,” he told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM. “I walk into supermarkets and see this wall of wine and don’t know what to buy and that’s why we built it — for normal wine drinkers like us.”

Since Vivino’s creation in 2011, the app has now skyrocketed in popularity to grow from just 12,000 users to over 35 million. Now, the “Shazam of wines” attracts about 20,000 new signups a day, with users submitting about a total of 100,000 wine ratings every 24 hours.

Using Vivino, users can discover wine ratings, prices, and now purchase wines just by taking a picture of the label.

Now, since the app’s wine discovery feature helped amass a giant following, Zachariassen says the company is laser-focused on retail partnerships to become the “Amazon of wines.” For the last few years, Vivino has been partnering to let users actually purchase the wines they’re searching or have consistently rated the highest.

“It turned out to be a little bit harder than we thought,” he said. “We don’t sell wines ourselves we are a marketplace, [but] we have around 700 partners all around the world and they sell the wines through the app.”

With an established and growing userbase and the ability to monetize wine purchases, Zachariassen believes Vivino’s upside could dwarf that of other marketplaces.

“The thing that people forget is that wine is not a niche,” he said “Wine is a $300 billion dollar business, much bigger than music and books combined.”

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

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