Giftiki lets friends contribute to gift fund

Faith Merino · April 28, 2011 · Short URL:

Skip the lame $20 trinkets and pool your money so the birthday boy/girl can buy something cool

The world of online gifting is experiencing a sea change. In sum: people are sick of getting lame gifts. There’s nothing quite so lame as getting ten cheap trinkets for your birthday from friends and realizing that, when added up, you could have had $200, which is enough to buy a plane ticket to Las Vegas. But instead, you have a bunch of lame gifts that now YOU have to get rid of by regifting.

Our technology is advanced enough to be able to conquer this issue, damn it!

A new site, Giftiki, has sprung up to address that problem and it’s getting some big support: the company has raised $1 million in a round of funding led by Tim Draper of Draper Associates, with participation from Transmedia Capital, Crosslink Capital, and Goldhill Capital.

The concept behind the site is simple: since you may want something that costs more than what one friend can afford, Giftiki allows users to send over small amounts in the $2-$25 range, so that added up, they amount to a lump sum that the recipient can then use to get what he or she really wants: an exact life-sized replica of the original Evel Knievel stunt uniform.

But this sounds eerily familiar. A couple of weeks ago, I covered FriendFund…because the team there took it upon themselves to solve my iPad dilemma by creating a pool for me. (Sadly, we only managed to raise $100 of the necessary $499, so no dice.) But Bryan Jowers, founder and CTO of Giftiki, pointed out a few key differences to me:

“FriendFund is great, we love that they're in the space. However, Giftiki is materially different in a few different ways. One, we haven't announced yet two of our other products, but we are a much larger platform play. Also, our core product that is very similar to FriendFund allows non-registered users, who see others’ behavior on Facebook/Twitter, etc - to contribute individually to the giftee. There is no recruiting of others. We are simple - no creating pools, etc. We are partnering with very strategic, large partners to push our platform out beyond”

At some point within the next six weeks, the company plans to roll out its service (which is currently in stealth mode) to a private group of users for beta testing. Additionally, the team is working on mobile apps for iPhone and Android so that users can send gifts on the go from their phones.

The company plans to use the new funds to ramp up platform and app development, as well as continuing to build out the site. 

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