Giiv lands $3.35 million

Chris Caceres · June 1, 2010 · Short URL:

Startup wants to be the go-to site for sending gifts via redeemable text-message coupons

Giiv, a startup in the mobile gifting space, announced on Tuesday it has raised $3.35 million in Series A financing.  

Investors include Google's CEO Eric Schmidt, Saban Ventures, Founder Collective and SK Telecom Ventures.  

The Los Angeles-based company focuses on one simple area: mobile gifting via text.  Here's how it works - users create an account with Giiv, check out the different items they can buy for friends, once they find something to purchase, they enter their friends mobile number, a 20 character note, and send.  That person receives a special text message with a coupon code they can redeem at a local retailer.  Giiv has taglined itself as, "texting with benefits."

At the moment, Giiv doesn't have a super extensive list of retailers as partners.  Users can send text gifts from for places like Macy's, Fandango, Amazon, Krispy Kreme, Barnes & Nobles and several others, but in total, it's only around 15 as listed on the front page of Giiv's site.  The startup charges a $.99 transaction fee for sending a gift.

Either way, this is definitely a nice change from the typical virtual gifting you see on Facebook.  Why send a cartoon icon of a donut when you can send your friend a certificate for a real one you can actually eat and redeem?

I've reached out to Giiv to find a little bit more about where it sees this going and what kind of retailers it plans to add in the future.  As for how Giiv plans to allocate the funds, it told the Wall Street Journal it would use them to help expand its services to new retailers and products.  

Also, take note Giiv isn't the first company in this space.  Some other companies like Foursquare and Fandango also offer mobile coupon based services, where you can redeem things like movie tickets via a text message-scannable barcode on your phone.

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