• Heartful Academy

How to get 50 million users for your app doing something you love

Heini Zachariassen was the CEO of cybersecurity company BullGuard, but in the middle of the finance crises he decided to start his own company. Brave move!

Heini and his co-founder, Theis Søndergaard, didn’t know much about wine, and they themselves had a hard time picking the right bottle for the Saturday dinner party. What if there was an app that you could use to scan the wine label right there in the shop with your mobile phone? The app could show you ratings and reviews from other wine consumers from all over the world. A simple idea and one that didn’t immediately have a clear revenue model. Everyone knows that it is hard to make money on apps, so was Heini onto something that would be perceived as nice-to-have or need-to-have?

Fast forward to February 2021. Vivino has just raised another 150m USD from investors, and now has more than 50 million users. It is the leading global community for everyone who occasionally or often buys a bottle of wine, and it is also a marketplace with a strong revenue model. Well done, Heini and Theis!

It can seem like a miracle, but when you meet Heini you will immediately see that he is a truly passionate and skilled entrepreneur. He has his heart 100% into what he is doing, and he builds strong and lasting relationships in a way that seems effortless.

In addition to his demanding work as the Founder of Vivino, in 2018 he started his own YouTube channel, Raw Startup, where he energetically and with high professionalism, shares everything he has learned along the way.


In this Heartful Academy session we've asked Heini to focus on:

  • What are the most important lessons from his 12 year journey with Vivino

  • How he has raised more than 200m USD in funding for an app

  • How was their journey towards a strong revenue model, and when did Heini know that they had nailed it

  • The vast majority of apps don’t make it, what are the main reasons that Vivino has managed to get to 50 million users?

  • What would Heini have loved to know when he started his entrepreneurial journey?

  • How does he stay sane, happy and healthy during such an intense and demanding adventure?