Sunday, June 20, 2021

Remember nobody is perfect

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

Vindome also offers beginners the opportunity to invest in wine as an alternative investment

Briefly introduce yourself and the start-up Vindome to our readers! 

More and more consumers are looking for an alternative way to invest their money in a safe and uncomplicated way. Our online platform Vindome also offers beginners the opportunity to invest in wine as an alternative investment without prior knowledge or entry barriers. After a successful launch in France, Italy and Russia, the Vindome app and website is now also available in Germany. Vindome is also an example of women power, founded by my business partner Victoria Palatnik and by me, Ingrid Brodin. Victoria Palatnik is a German-Russian entrepreneur with an MBA from Oxford University, she is a Tech industry expert and head of Massa Innovations, a Singapore-based investment fund. I am from Sweden and have an MBA from SDA Bocconi, I am an entrepreneur with many years of experience in international business development and in numerous multinational companies such as Merrill Lynch and Del Monte. 

Why did you decide to start a business? 

I am a born entrepreneur, I like to look for new challenges, I always have: give me a challenge and I will take it! When we saw a gap in the market, I was excited to find the best way to fill it, so we developed Vindome. 

What was the biggest challenge in founding Vindome? 

One of the biggest challenges was founding a start-up in the middle of a pandemic, with all the complexities it has brought, e.g. restrictions to meet people, difficulties in raising funds, etc. But we have a really great team that has always been highly motivated and has always given more than 100% even in these difficult times. Another challenge was to find the right logistics partner. With the premium wines we deal with, storage is a key factor.  Therefore, we needed a competent international partner who could professionally take care of the storage logistics. We found the right partner in the German company JF Hillebrand. That is one of our strengths: We enable our customers without wine cellars to store their wines in modern, secure storage facilities close to the production sites. 

Can you start with an idea when not everything is perfect yet?

I guess the question is can you launch a business even if everything is not perfect. In today’s fast-paced environment you have to launch even if not everything is perfect. You have to get in front of your customers and get feedback.  With an application it’s a constant work in progress to improve and get better at what we do. We have to make sure we delivery what our customers would like and you can never know this until you have customers.

What is the vision behind Vindome?

We are convinced that premium wine can be discovered by a wider and younger audience. Italian and French wines should have the same status with the younger generation as some luxury fashion brands: Wine is an equally sexy, attractive and vintage object and that also gives an excellent return of investment! It’s a medium to long term passion asset that gives a stable ROI. Our goal is to invite a new generation of investors into the world of quality wines, but also to offer new opportunities to experienced collectors. We want Vindome to become the number one platform for buying and selling premium wine.

Who is the target group of Vindome?

We can define three target groups. On the one hand, there are the established investors who already buy wine as an investment. They appreciate initiatives that make it easier, more efficient and less time-consuming to do so. Then there are the wine lovers who have a passion for wine but might not know where to start investing in wine, where to sell it and also where to store the wine. The third group is the Millennials: many of them invest in cryptocurrency, funds but also in sneakers, handbags or modern art. In addition, we want to be sure that we reach women: The number of women in both the financial and wine worlds is growing. And in the family, they are often the decision-makers. We want them to feel comfortable and secure investing in wine. 

How does it all work? 

Vindome offers two options: “Vindome Collections” are carefully selected wine ranges that buyers can purchase at the touch of a button to start their wine investment journey. The “Collections” familiarise buyers with different wines and the market mechanisms. In this way, Vindome provides the necessary knowledge to build a portfolio. The wine ranges address different budgets and investment periods. Both low investment amounts of 150 euros for six bottles of wine and the purchase of entire collections for several thousand euros are possible. In addition to options for short-term investments of two to five years, there are medium-term ones for five to nine years and longer-term ones for more than nine years. Alternatively, the app offers the “Vindome Live Market” – a marketplace where investors can browse hundreds of buy and sell offers with no minimum investment amount. 

What sets you apart from other providers? 

Vindome is the world’s first app for investing in premium wine. The app is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices and offers a user-friendly interface, it is incredibly simple. There are no otherwise typical barriers such as club or minimum entry fees. With Vindome, anyone can become a wine investor in five minutes.  The origin of all wines traded on the platform is guaranteed, each wine is an ex-chateau and comes with a label equipped with an NFC (Near Field Communication) microchip so that every transaction is registered in a blockchain. We are also the first platform to offer access to “en primeur” wines from Bordeaux via the live market.

Vindome, where is the road heading? Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Our goal is to reach new markets, After Europe, we want to conquer Asia and the US. And we want to add new wine countries and regions into our portfolio, for example wines from Germany and Spain. We are a modern startup and will continue to develop our app to keep it up to date. Our target in 5 years is to have 200,000 active investors and be the no. 1 wine investment platform globally. 

In conclusion: What 3 tips would you give to aspiring female founders? 

First, do not be afraid to fail and keep learning! When starting a business there will always be things you have to do or decisions to take that you don’t feel comfortable with but the only way to learn and improve is to make mistakes and study. Remember nobody is perfect.  Look at mistakes as a learning and try to improve.  Failure is an inevitable part of success, from which we learn.

Secondly, get feedback – receiving feedback from customers and people within your team is critical to evaluate your business. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback and never stop asking for feedback. Receiving feedback and understanding the market and your competitors is invaluable. This is also why it’s important to launch even if you don’t feel everything is perfect. Looking back at Vendome’s journey I regret we did not bring the product to the market quicker – even if it was just a small part of it.

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to dream BIG and ask for help!   I love the quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, who said: “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.“

Also, do not forget to ask for help from people around you. As you navigate through your business you will require everything from capital to knowledge. What I have found is by digging into our network, meaning the wider network of Vindome and not just my own, we manage to answer questions, get help and support and its very often from the most unlikely recourses.

Thank you Ingrid Brodin for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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