Here's a new app that definitely falls under the "Why didn't I think of that?" category. Giftiki is a "collaborative gifting engine" app for iOS that allows users to contribute small monetary amounts for gifts through a social networking platform.
The app is essentially a networked, slightly more sophisticated gift card system with a "game-like interface," where recipients can forgo getting a bunch of gifts they don't want for one or two that they do.
"After signing up, you’re prompted to send a Giftiki," said a Giftiki rep, in an interview. "Pick a Facebook friend, add a monetary contribution (up to $10), pen a personal (but still public) message, select digital gift wrapping, tell other friends to join in on the gifting and enter your credit card information."
After syncing up Facebook friends' birthday information, the iPhone app will send users reminder notifications regarding upcoming birthdays, so they can chip in small amounts for gifts. The app also notifies users when they have been sent gifts via Giftiki.
"Because the Giftiki is posted to the recipient’s Facebook Wall, your friend’s Facebook friends can see it and chip in to make the pot size grow," said the Giftiki rep.
Giftiki is also unique in that it allows users to redeem these mini-donations from friends through American Express. Retailers like Macy's, Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory, and the Sports Authority are also partnering with Giftiki.
Founded in 2009 and based in San Francisco, the Giftiki app launched only in October 2011. The company had received $20,000 of seed funding, then a $1 million Series A round from investors Crosslink Capital, Goldhill Capital, Transmedia Capital, and Draper Associates.
The Giftiki platform had been mentored by Brandery startup accelerator prior to moving to San Francisco from Cincinnati. The Giftiki rep indicated that an Android mobile app is currently in development. "as we speak."
Also, the app has a clear social networking tie-in, since users can sign in through Facebook, and social networks are the go-to source for keeping abreast of friends' birthdays. "[We're] really focused on gifting for birthdays right now," said the Gifitiki rep, "as there is an estimated 82 million birthday-related posts circulating through Facebook every day."
Call me crazy, but anything that can streamline the increasingly arduous task of keeping track of birthdays can't but be a good thing.