Giftly launched last September with nearly $3 million in funding and a dream of making all gift cards mobile.But after the holiday season struck, founder Tim Bentley and his team of 10 started to rethink the product.
Giftly was a location-based gift card service. The sender could pick a venue and gift a friend a small sum to spend there. It used geo-location to unlock the giftcard when the recipient neared the venue.
But Bentley found people preferred gifting items over locations. He and his team shifted the company’s vision, so much so that the site now reads, “A Giftly is not a giftcard…it’s better!”
They spent six months creating an iPhone app which went live yesterday. Now Giftly lets users send items or experiences to friends from their mobile devices.
Here’s how it works: A user selects a Facebook friend to send a gifted amount to, up to $250. They then select a suggested venue, but the Giftly can be unlocked and used anywhere by the friend. They also suggest an item for the friend to buy (see screenshot below).
When the friend uses the Giftly, they’re asked to send a quick message of thanks and a photo of the purchase to the user.
At its core, Giftly is a way to send small sums of money to friends, wrapped up in a thoughtful way. If you actually want to send your friend something like flowers or a cupcake, you’re still better off calling an actual store and getting the items delivered. But Bently thinks there’s a use case for people who want an easy way to be thoughtful from time to time.
“When we surveyed our users before, we asked them how often they’d buy gift cards for people. They’d usually say twice per year, on birthdays and holidays,” says Bentley says of pivot. “We realised we were building a product around giftcards and locations, and we were being too conservative. Really, people give little gifts to each other all the time.”
Here’s what the new app looks like:
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