How an outsider’s freedom can make a successful startup founder

Building a startup in a sector you’ve never worked in might seem a risky move, but it can actually provide a competitive advantage.

That’s certainly proven true for Vivino. Founded in 2010 in Copenhagen, the scaleup has raised $221 million in funding, and become the world’s most downloaded wine app and largest online wine marketplace, with a community of 50 million users.

This success came despite an unconventional background. Vivino’s cofounders didn’t come from a place with a rich history of wine, and neither of them had previously worked in the sector.

For Heini Zachariassen, co-founder of Vivino, and founder and host of Raw Startup, coming from outside the industry adds a big advantage. “You’re free to do whatever you want in any way you want,” he tells TNW.

So how does this freedom translate into founding and scaling a successful startup?

The first important aspect is the ability to bring a fresh perspective to the market, which enabled Vivino to help a customer segment that the industry was neglecting: wine lovers who don’t know much about wine.

Vivino supports these users with crowd-sourced data. When they take a photo of a bottle of a wine label, the app can show them ratings, reviews, and average prices for the bottle.

“If you’re in the industry and somewhat set in your ways, you can have a lot of baggage that influences the decisions you make,” Zachariassen, who will be speaking at TNW València on March 30, says.


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