OSLO (By Joachim Dagenborg, Reuters) — Internet browser Vivaldi, which launched last week, must attract five million monthly users to become profitable, its founder and chief executive said in a Reuters interview.
The introduction of Vivaldi version 1.0 follows a 15-month development that cost veteran software maker Jon von Tetzchner around 50 million crowns ($6.07 million) of his own money.
Offering a wide range of personalized settings and bookmark functions, the Oslo-based browser hopes to lure some of the web’s most demanding users away from global brands like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera.
“A few years ago everyone started simplifying their browsers and they removed many of the features that the so-called power users wanted. This is the segment we are targeting”, von Tetzchner said.
“We have many more features and personalization options than any other browser in the market. Most of these features are new and totally unique for Vivaldi,” he added.
Named after the 18th-century composer Antonio Vivaldi, the name hints at von Tetzchner’s previous role as co-founder and long-time head of browser and mobile phone software firm Opera, which he left in 2011.
Opera is now the subject of an ongoing $1.28 billion takeover by a group of Chinese firms.
“After I left they decided to focus on a totally different user segment, and that opened up a space in the market,” von Tetzchner said. “We only need five million monthly users to make money and I’m confident that we will get there.”
Vivaldi has been downloaded several million times since the launch of a test version early last year, but von Tetzchner declined to say how many of those had become regular users.
Holding 90 percent of the company’s shares, and with employees also owning small stakes, von Tetzchner plans to stay firmly in control.
“Several of the most well-known venture capital groups, prominent names, have called me up wanting to take part in this company, but I have politely turned them down,” he said.
“One of the things I learned during my Opera years is how important it is to keep control of the company. I’m fortunate to be able to do that this time around.”
Vivaldi has also partnered with several content providers including Bing, Yahoo and Yandex and is in talks with Alphabet, von Tetzchner said.
($1 = 8.2381 Norwegian crowns)
(Editing by Terje Solsvik)