|1||$690K revenue to date, 8,700+ gifts, 10,500+ users in 13 states and consistently growing at an average of 40% YoY.|
|2||An early entrant into a $9 billion (annually) blue ocean market of a highly coveted solution.|
|3||Proven market fit with demonstrated virality both organic and word-of-mouth|
|4||First-of-its-kind Patent-pending solution for teacher gifting.|
|5||A seasoned team with track record of building innovative solutions at scale and bringing them to market.|
|6||Strategic partnership with MemberHub (a leading vendor of Parent Associations portal) to accelerate penetration into schools.|
GiftCrowd started when I, a high-tech dad, was trying to arrange a holiday gift for my son's amazing teacher. I volunteered to take care of the gift as the class mom said she was too busy for the holidays. I had no idea what I was getting into and did not think it will require much more than a couple of emails.
A hundred texts/calls/emails later ("Please do not forget to ask your daughter to give your $10 to my son even if they don't talk"), the night before the last school day before Christmas, I finally went to purchase the gift and this is how I looked - I had no idea what to purchase.
In an era of online purchases, it made no sense to me that group gifting felt like medieval times and I knew that it did not have that way and that was the moment GiftCrowd was born.
Speaking to other parents revealed that the pain was very common and quick research revealed that the group gifting market in the US alone is roughly $9 billion a year! HUGE opportunity given the fact that there was not a single solution for this very common need.
The notion of gifting, using your purchasing power to benefit someone else and make them happy, has been around since humans began trading thousands of years ago. Gifting in general, including group gifting, have traditionally evolved hand in hand with purchasing methods.
However, while there were tremendous changes in purchasing habits over the last decade transitioning from brick-and-mortar stores to online, group gifting has frozen in time and looks today the exact same way it was 10 or even 20 years ago. A transformation in group gifting methods is only a matter of time as consumers are already ready and eagerly looking forward to it.
With my engineering background, I was eager to start building something, so even before we finalized the name and designed our logo, we started to develop our website. This is how our initial design looked like (yes, we were considering the name GyftCROWD back then)
Since then we changed the name to GiftCrowd, designed our logo which blends together illustrations of a gift and people, along with our "Buying gifs together" tagline. We also changed our design to make the process of creating and joining gifts as straightforward as possible.
As a solution that is all about groups and bringing people together, building a viral solution was our goal from the very beginning. Since our initial version are attentively listening to our users, hear their feedback and improve anything they do not like.
Not too long after we rolled out our first version, we were approached by the parent association of the schools in Tenafly, NJ, who told us that they are trying to arrange 60 gifts for the whole school staff, and they do this twice a year - for the holidays and for the end of the school year. They wanted to know whether we could help. Sure we could - we built for them a web page (later we would call these Gifting Pages) that listed all of their staff members with a Join button next to each name that made it easy for parents to join the gifts they were interested in.
This is how it looked (I masked the name of the school and teachers per their request)
This was the foundation for our first of its kind patent-pending Teacher Gifting solution. Since then we have added an advanced administrator interface for the parent association that gives them visibility into the amounts and number of participants of all the gifts, makes it easy for them to reuse the teachers list and only make the necessary modifications when teachers join and leave as well as control various attributes of the gifts (e.g. who can see the amount of individual contributions, etc)
Since that first school, several dozens of parent associations have used GiftCrowd with very high retention rates. The gifts that touch our hearts the most are custodian gifts with many parents chiming in, even with low denominations that add up to significant amounts.
Beyond the fact that teacher gifts are profitable for us (it is a $5 billion annual market for teacher gifts in the US alone), those same parents that were initially exposed to GiftCrowd through the parent association started to use GiftCrowd for other purposes, ones that are related to their kids (birthdays, coach gifts, ...) and ones that are not - gifting colleagues at work, gifting customers, ...
GiftCrowd has been consistently growing since it was launched, introducing web users to a solution they did not even existed. With very loyal user base, demonstrated market fit and proven virality - both organic (users who are invited to join gifts, started by others, end up creating their their own gifts and inviting new users to join, etc) and word-of-mouth (new users that created several new gifts the first time they used GiftCrowd have shared with us that they have heard about GiftCrowd from raving friends who were describing how easy GiftCrowd was to use), we are well-positioned to continue and accelerate our growth.
We are now looking to raise funds in order to increase our marketing spend and spread the work faster and more efficiently.
GiftCrowd is not conducting a Regulation Crowdfunding offering. Hosted by Wefunder Inc.
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