One of our jobs is to find technologies that will help the wine industry succeed. We often look outside the wine industry to find incredible solutions that help wineries in any way possible. Through extensive research, analysis, and lots of white board sessions we try to surface the technologies that seem most helpful. Fortunately we have only made two mistakes in technologies that we have strongly supported in our three year history. Our most notable was Scvngr.
In the beginning, Scvngr seemed like it had innovated where other platforms had stagnated (Gowalla and Foursquare were struggling to innovate at the time). They offered a level of interactivity that was not just about checking in but about engagement. They had fair pricing and a rapidly growing user base. We loved the way they viewed game theory. So as a location based service that would work for the wine industry, we chose them.
Everything was champagne and roses at first. Scvngr offered rewards for engagement. In a hospitality industry, this seemed like a perfect fit. They had unique features (taking pictures, answering quizes, etc) and fun mapping tools called Treks to tie locations together to earn rewards. Scvngr loved the wine industry because we represented a use case for regions that could easily overlay a game layer with mass tourism and strong hospitality culture. For us it also represented an innovative way to engage consumers in both the digital world and the physical world and deepen the engagement when people visit any winery tasting room.
Scvngr made us promises to ensure this was a giant success (with the potential that they could roll it out to other tourist/hospitality based locations with our case study like Las Vegas, Disneyland, et al). This is what they committed:
I recently saw a Scvngr campaign with the Napa Valley Vintners for the annual auction (I am curious how successful the campaign was) and upon calling Scvngr, their statement was, “We don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to those previous promises. If you can find us some resellers . . .” Uh, no. How about you fulfill your promises made to us and the wine industry as a whole.
All indicators pointed to Scvngr becoming a winner and helping wineries deepen their engagement with consumers. Sorry to all that joined us in this debacle. We really believed in them and made a rare mistake betting on their horse. The net net is that we picked the wrong horse.
Perhaps it was the money that diluted their focus. Perhaps the VC’s shifted direction and the young management didn’t have the experience to properly communicate. Perhaps they don’t understand the meaning of a partnership or a promise. Maybe they don’t like the wine industry. Whatever the reason, the lesson for us was make sure vision is supported by execution and find partners that really keep their promises. In this case, we have ALL deleted Scvngr from our mobile phones and we are back on Foursquare (who has lapped Scvngr times ten in the last six months with awesome functionality) and Gowalla.
Visit us anytime at the “tank” and check in (with Foursquare or Gowalla, that is).