A Look Inside The Ex-Googler Startup That's Trying To Make Every Gift Card Mobile

trojan horse giftly magnumGiftly is the only office we’ve seen with a Trojan Horse.

Photo: Giftly

During our trip to San Francisco last month, we visited hot Silicon Valley startup, Giftly.Giftly was founded by Tim Bentley, a former Aardvark executive. Aardvark was acquired by Google for ~ $50 million.

Bentley’s new company has a few million in funding; Thrive Capital is an investor. It launched in September and it’s disrupting the gift card industry. 

Giftly offers a way for anyone to buy a gift card to any store in the world, even ones that aren’t nearby.

For example, if you want to get your parents a gift card to their favourite restaurant but you don’t live in the area, you can order it on Giftly. All Giftly cards are delivered via email and redeemed on mobile phones.

Giftly doesn’t deal with any of the merchants either. Here’s how it works:

When a Giftly card is purchased, the buyer’s credit card is charged. When the recipient opens the card on their mobile phone in the store, Giftly check their location. Once Giftly confirms that the recipient is at the right venue, the gift money is unlocked.  Giftly then send the money as a credit card reimbursement to the recipient. The recipient then purchases the product at the cash register per usual. The merchant doesn’t have to be told about the Giftly — the service is completely a location-based redemption.

Unlike most gift cards, Giftly allows the buyer to select up to three venues where the recipient can spend the money. If you want to treat someone to a great date night, you could gift them money to unlock at a restaurant, a movie theatre, and a dessert place.

Giftly is located at 95 Minna Street in San Francisco.

It's a few floors up in the HubPages building.

We climbed up a flight of stairs until we reached Giftly's office.

This common room let us know we were in the right place. We hung out with founder Tim Bentley on those couches for a few hours, brainstorming great startup ideas.

Everyone worked in one main room. In the centre sat a mini Trojan Horse.

The Trojan Horse is named Magnum. It reminds the team to never send a bad gift.

There was a fully stocked kitchen.

One conference room for meetings.

Giftly has two office pets. This one is Bayou.

Here's his friend, Five.

Animal pictures from Dave Eggers books line the office. Eggers is the author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

Tim Bentley is Giftly's founder and CEO.

Dan Kimerling is Giftly's 25-year-old COO. He used to write for TechCrunch.

Justin Shearer is a Giftly engineer who is fond of woodland creatures.

Jennifer Pollock is Giftly's Content Director. She comes up with cool gift ideas and packages.

Will Dalton and Balen Gore are working on the product too.

Balen Gore and Mike Abner are also Giftly engineers.

Mills Baker is Giftly's product designer.

Giftly offered us some creative schwag on the way out: wooden nickels and varsity jackets.

We also visited another startup in San Francisco:

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