Featured Startup Pitch: UrGiftin wants to end re-gifting by making gift wish lists work better
Headquarters: Walnut, California
Year Founded: 2013
Founder: Vicky Ricuarte
Company Description: UrGiftin is a mobile app that helps people share their wish lists with friends and family so that they can give and receive only the most desirable gifts.
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UrGiftin is a mobile app that helps you celebrate special occasions by sharing your wish list with friends and family so that no one strikes out in the gift department. UrGiftin will notify you when the special occasions of close friends are coming up so that you can click on that person’s wish list and purchase what he/she wants, right from your mobile device. Likewise, after taking a peek at your wish list, friends can either buy a gift for you on their own or invite other friends to chip in and get you something bigger. Initially, we are sharing the Amazon Wish List, but in the future plan to connect UrGiftin with other online retailers, wish list sharing services, and social networks.
I am originally from Colombia and I have been working for more than 13 years doing online strategy for financial institutions in LATAM [Latin America] and the U.S. While I was pursing my master’s at Harvard, I fell in love with the entrepreneur movement. Inspired by the beginnings of successful companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Eventbrite and Gilt, I became passionate about replicating similar business models in developing countries in LATAM. I decided to resign from my big job in Boston and jump into the entrepreneur adventure, capitalizing on my experience and a head full of ideas to solve real life problems.
While prototyping a couple of proven business models with the intent to take them to LATAM, I had my second baby. I received cute presents at my baby shower but many of them I did not need. Then Christmas arrived, and my husband and I received many presents that we ended up re-gifting or just piling into closets. Interestingly enough, we had Amazon Wish Lists but our friends and family never looked at them when buying gifts for us. We could see a real problem begging to be solved. Instead of replicating a popular business model, as I had originally intended, we turned our attention to the social gifting market and focused on innovation.
We started with a Facebook-only app that would show the user a fixed catalogue of products/gifts. After six months of iterating the product and receiving feedback from our users, we decided to pivot the original idea and become a mobile-only app that shares your wish list. Why? People use Facebook through their mobile devices. Mobile and social commerce are two mega trends that we want to take advantage of, and we also want to leverage the most widely used services such as Facebook and Amazon.
We launched UrGiftin for Valentine’s Day 2013 and customer feedback has been phenomenal. We have grown rapidly with the help of Wayra.org, the accelerator program from Telefonica Spain and, among other recognition, we won the MassChallenge-iNNPulsa pitch competition in Boston.
What’s the problem that we want to solve?
People usually don’t receive the gifts they want when celebrating their birthdays and other special occasions. For example, in the U.S., $41 billion in gift card balances have gone unredeemed since 2005. Additionally, in the U.S., a third of all gifts received during the holidays are re-gifted. Interestingly enough, people do use wish list services for themselves (e.g. Amazon Wish List), but friends and family don’t use them when buying gifts.
What’s our solution?
UrGiftin takes the guesswork out of gift giving by showcasing only the items a person desires, and then providing gift givers with the option to purchase the desired items right from their mobile devices. UrGiftin also allows users to create events, so you’ll never forget another birthday. Anniversaries, baby showers, engagements—any event—can be shared with your friends and family. UrGiftin targets gift giving by allowing you to create multiple wish lists depending on the special occasion you want to celebrate.
UrGiftin is also a transactional wish list: you simply click on any product you see on a wish list and buy it directly from the app. We call it ‘Wish-Giving,’ and believe it is the future of gifting. UrGiftin has also perfected ‘Group Giving’ by allowing friends to chip in for expensive items.
Our marketing strategy is focused on 12 gift-giving holidays that happen throughout the year, like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, as well as 10 personal gifting occasions such as weddings, baby showers, and birthdays.
In order to grow our user base, we are looking to connect UrGiftin with complementary services like greeting card and postcard services and other apps that complement our value proposition.
We are also looking to connect UrGiftin with other wish list services such as Pinterest, Fancy and eBay. At this point, we are relying on feedback from our users to determine which services, next to Amazon, are most desirable to connect with.
We also know that UrGiftin works best among groups of friends, and that is why we are making a great effort to reach brides (wedding registries) and mommies to be (baby showers). On average, a wedding registry will bring 100 new users to UrGiftin.
Social gifting is a new and hot industry. We have identified web-based and mobile-based services that are testing a variety of offerings like gift cards, crowd gifting and electronic gifts. We believe these competitors only satisfy one end of the gifting equation, the gift sender. Specifically, these services help the sender send gifts that the recipient probably does not expect or just does not want. We are the first and only app that shares the Amazon Wish List (and soon others), so we have that strategic advantage.
The gifting market in the U.S. is huge and it accounts for up to 10 percent of total retail sales, or $450 billion. Out of that, $25 billion is online. Despite being a small segment of the online gifting universe at $1 billion, social gifting is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2015 and to $25 billion by 2017.
How We Differentiate from the Competition
UrGiftin is entering the social gifting market by gift-giving through wish list-sharing, or ‘Wish Giving,’ as we call it.
What’s unique about it? When a gift sender buys a gift from a wish list, he/she knows for sure that the gift receiver wants and expects that perfect gift. As obvious as it sounds, Wish-Giving is the most powerful way to satisfy both the gift sender and gift receiver but, until UrGiftin, nobody was doing it. UrGiftin allows this process to happen by offering a ‘transactional’ wish list: with one click, the gift sender can buy and send the perfect gift using the most reliable partner, Amazon.
We are generating revenue by selling products through the Amazon Affiliates program.
Currently, we are looking for a great and passionate community manager.
We are also in the process of raising our second round of Seed capital. Why invest?
Social Gifting is the perfect mix of two mega worldwide trends: social shopping and mobile commerce. This industry is expected to multiple fivefold in the U.S. in just four years. We want to capture $80 million of the mobile-gifting market in the U.S. by 2015, but we are also confident that the opportunity is global. In Amazon, UrGiftin has chosen a powerful partner because they are a leader in mobile and online commerce worldwide. UrGiftin also has a sophisticated, experienced and passionate team.
UrGiftin – www.urgift.in