Meet Ingrid, Vindome’s CEO and Co-founder. Prior to launching Vindome in 2019, Swedish-born Ingrid worked in the financial arena and with successful start-up businesses. She lives in Monaco with her husband and two children.
What led you to create Vindome?
Vindome was born from the realisation that fine wine investment was not as popular in Europe as it was in the UK. So, together with my founding partner Viktoria Palatnik, we set out to revolutionise the fine wine investment market. We had – and have – the ambition of making the trading of fine wine more accessible, safe, transparent and dynamic than it had ever been. Wine investments were becoming more accessible to the UK market but remained old-fashioned and with very high barriers to entry here in Europe. We saw that there was a big gap in the market, and so Vindome was born.
We were driven by a vision to make personal wine investments simple and accessible through technology and attract a new generation of investments. We wanted to create a product that reduced the complicated supply chain and gave both professional and personal investors direct access to producers through a modern, efficient app by creating a low-cost and highly efficient investment platform.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration in growing your business?
Being an entrepreneur in today’s extremely fast-growing tech world means sacrificing other things in life, including time with your family. So, a big driver for me is my family, as I want my children to understand that to achieve results, you need to work hard.
Very early on, we set an objective to be the world’s largest wine trading platform, and our focus is still that. I think it is very important in any business to be focused on your objectives but be agile on the road to achieving them.
What’s your number 1 tip for anyone struggling to overcome entrepreneurial overwhelm and keep going?
Celebrate all your successes, no matter how small they are, as it keeps you motivated. Keep focused on the objective, and make sure you surround yourself with people that are able to motivate and support you through the tough times. Do a spring clean of people that are not able to give you the support you need – both in your professional and personal life. As Oprah Winfrey’s said, “surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
If you were to start your business again today, what would you do differently?
It took me some time to find a strong team. I believe that in order for a company to succeed, you need to have the right people in place. Vindome’s success is thanks to our amazing team, who believed in both the project, in its inception, and me. But it hasn’t always been easy, and we’ve made the wrong decisions in the past. So, if I could go back to the beginning, I would say that doing thorough due diligence on the people I work with is critical, and with the experience I have today, I would spend more time on this in the early stages of any start-up. You are only ever going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with.
What’s been the most significant thing you’ve done to grow your business?
We have spent and still spend most of our time and efforts on product development. We’ve listened to feedback from our clients and evolved our product to give them something they are proud to use.
What advice would you give to other women who are looking to build their careers in male-dominated arenas?
You need to believe in yourself and your capabilities and not hesitate to take decisions, whether they are right or wrong. I make wrong decisions daily, but the important thing is to move forward and learn from my mistakes. It comes down to the people you surround yourself with, no matter which industry you are in.
What’s been your favourite mistake, and what did you learn from it?
As an entrepreneur, you constantly make mistakes, but I really think all mistakes and failures make you stronger. I think a successful entrepreneur is someone able to accept, learn and grow from mistakes. Mistakes also help you improve processes and know better what to do going forward.
Thankfully, we have not had any significant failures so far, apart from, on occasion, hiring the wrong people. The team is a massively important part of any start-up and fundamental to its success. All start-ups need motivated talent that can adapt quickly to the evolution and pace of the business, but this is even truer for post-COVID remote work. So, we need to be able to maintain the spirit of togetherness while only actually physically meeting once or twice a year. Therefore, attracting the right person for the right position has been challenging in some cases. But each wrong hire has led us to learn more about hiring the right one.
What’s the one thing you recently learnt that you would not have believed six months ago?
We launched Vindome in the midst of the global pandemic, which was followed by an economic crisis and the war in Ukraine. Despite this, we have managed to double our subscribers and sales on a monthly basis. I think if you had said this to me 6 months ago, I might have had my doubts!
If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman in business during your overall career?
To be very honest, I have been extremely “lucky” throughout my career, and very rarely has my gender affected it. That does not mean I have not seen bad things around me.
I am a very independent and fearless person, and I will be forever grateful to my parents for this. They taught me that if anyone challenges you on the pure basis that you are a woman, then they are the ones with the issues and insecurities. Therefore, I don’t think that my gender impacts my decision-making skills – I work hard and with honesty. This has everything to do with who I am and nothing to do with the fact that I am a woman.
Why is gender balance and having a more diverse workforce important, especially in senior management teams?
I find the gender balance discussion very sad – the discussion should be taken at the parenting and school level – and children should grow up knowing their sex should have no impact on their profession. Different viewpoints, regardless of whether they come from a man or a woman, give us a broader view of our product and help us strengthen our mindset. I have never thought that women fill some roles better than men or vice versa – I simply want to hire the right person for the job regardless of gender. Today we have an exact 50-50% balance in our team.