Friday, April 22, 2016
Interview with Jason Reid, Giftagram
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
For our interview this morning, we caught up with Jason Reid, CEO and Co-founder of Giftagram (www.giftagram.com), which announced a $3.2M funding round this week for its mobile gifting app.
How does Giftagram work?
Jason Reid: Giftagram is a mobile first company, that really redefines the way people gift. We've done that, by bringing some really, cool, awesome curated gifts to our platform, and made it really easy to send those to people in essentially two clicks. What is unique about our mobile app, is you can send a physical gift without actually having a physical address to send it to. How that works, is when you download Giftagram, you can peruse through gifts in different categories that we have set up, and see what products we have. They are changing all the time, and we constantly have new products and partners, as our inventory churns and things are no longer available, or if they are seasonal in nature. The other, interesting part of our platform, is it integrates with all of your contacts. All you need is a mobile number or email address, and when you send a Giftagram, they get a notification and a unique landing page, where they can enter their preferred delivery address. That is sent to our partners, and they package that item in a Giftagram box, and they get the gift typically two to five days later. It's a curated marketplace, with best-in-class products and experiences. We were incubated and launched in Canada in 2014, and at the end of 2015, we launched in the U.S. It's still early days for us, and we're building out our merchandising partners within the platform. We now have about 200 different retailers and brands we work with, representing over 1,000 products on our app, and that's something we are continually adding to every day.
Can you give us an example of what you mean by a curated gift?
Jason Reid: We have everything on there, from the traditional flowers and chocolate, to baby gifts, tequila, and alcohol. What is unique about Giftagram, is the best-in-class partners we work with For example, within chocolate or candy, we work with Sugarfina; in flowers, we work with The Bouqs and high end local retailers. On the baby side, we work with The Honest Company. On the experience side, it's brands like Four Seasons and their spa packages. By curated, what we mean is we have worked with our really cool partners to select great product for our user base, based on the time of year.
Who are your typical customers?
Jason Reid: It's generally tech savvy professionals. We typically talk about the expanded 30's, from age 20 to age 38, but in reality it's a larger span than that. We have a fairly even split between women and men, which is interesting, as research would suggest women are often the primary shoppers. But, we're seeing more and more men want to play that role, and are using Giftagram to find thoughtful gifts for both personal and business use. For our current base, which is around 100,000 users, we have about two third women and one third as men.
How did you end up in Santa Monica?
Jason Reid: My co-founder lived in LA for awhile, and several of our investors are also LA-based. We have a fairly broad network and set of folks who are supportive of us there. We always thought Canada was more of a test group for helping us launch the product, and it's been working as hoped it would. We've gotten lots of traction and growth, and that's given us a bigger opportunity to bring this to the U.S. Los Angeles was interesting, in particular, because of the whole technology scene and Silicon Beach happening here. So, from a market perspective, we think it fits really well.
Can you talk about your LA office?
Jason Reid: We have hired some very experienced folks as part of our team from LA, who have been in the market with e-commerce and gifting in the past. As we continue to expand around that growing team, knowing the market is helpful. It's been incredibly encouraging, because our growth rate in the U.S. has significantly outpaced what we have had in Canada. Part of that is just a general open-ness, and a little more early adoption of mobile commerce. That's not surprising, as LA is one of Uber's busiest markets. When we launched a couple of years ago, mobile adoption was less than ten percent, and it's now 30 to 40 percent or faster. What we saw during the holidays in 2015 certainly supports our vision of what we're doing as a mobile-first, gifting platform and destination. The U.S. feels like an even better market fit, as evidenced by the early traction we have seen, and the brands and partners we have been able to work with. It makes a lot of sense to be here, because most of the big brands are headquartered in the U.S.
What's next for you?
Jason Reid: We have a lto of exciting developments coming out on the product and feature side, as well as on the merchandising side. We're still effectively in soft launch mode in the U.S., and we're building out the merchandising and offers available there. One of the most noticeable things in coming months and weeks, will be the variety and selection of products coming out. We'll also be expanding our team, and investing more in technology. We don't talk much about it externally, but we have a lot of really cool features and functionality that we will be continually rolling out in our apps, which will make a better user experience, and help you navigate and find what you are looking for almost instantaneous. We have other ongoing initiatives, but certainly, there will be momentum on both fronts over the months ahead.