Wine App Vivino Raises $155 Million Fueled by Pandemic

Wine startup Vivino raised $155 million to expand into new countries, add staff and build out its recommendation engine after more than doubling wine sales during the pandemic.

The round, the company’s first since 2018, was led by Swedish investor Kinnevik AB, Vivino said in a statement Wednesday.

Wine sales on Vivino’s platform more than doubled in 2020 to $265 million as consumers shut out of bars and restaurants bought bottles online to drink at home. That drove the San Francisco-based company -- which suggests wine based on price, pairings or region and lets users buy it on its app -- to its first break-even annual performance.

The money will allow Vivino, which already operates in 17 countries and has 50 million users, to expand into new markets including Mexico, Japan, Portugal and Poland, and grow staff by at least 50% to 300 people, Chief Executive Officer Heini Zachariassen said in an interview. The company will also continue developing a personalization feature that Zachariassen likens to a Netflix-like rating for wine.

The funding round valued the company at between $600 million and $800 million, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. Zachariassen said the firm’s valuation rose substantially, though he wouldn’t disclose figures.

Sprints Capital, GP Bullhound and Creandum AB also invested in the round, which brings Vivino’s total funds raised to $221 million.

Still, Vivino doesn’t anticipate being profitable this year or next, and the company isn’t planning an initial public offering just yet, Zachariassen said.

“Vivino has claimed the position as the go-to wine utility for consumers all over the world, creating a strong community with network effects and rich data insights,” Kinnevik CEO Georgi Ganev said in the statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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