Jifiti closes seed funding with a final $1M, gears up for more substantial investment come early 2014
Deals with major payment players and ecommerce sites as Jifiti takes transitions from startup to business
Jifiti, an Israeli ecommerce gifting app startup has secured the final $1M of a seed round led by the Jesselsen Group. The company is also backed by Schottenstein Stores – owners of American Eagle and DSW, and the Simon Property Group – one of the world’s largest property groups owning 400 malls in the US alone.
With the holiday season prep in full tilt Jifiti is once again taking a spotlight on the ecommerce stage. The company began with a mobile gift registry app and has since expanded its product offering to include several new solutions that bring a little more digital convenience to the physical shopping experience.
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In an interview with Jifiti’s COO Daniel Citron told Geektime his company is working with a major credit card provider as their first vendor to offer a virtual style gift card designed to replace the physical branded gift cards picked up at retail mall kiosks across the US. These are the same cards responsible for hundreds of millions in revenue each year during the holiday season.
Jifiti’s virtual gift card replacement will initially be ‘picked up’ at the same kiosks but will then integrate fully with user social profiles. The app will push convenient reminder notifications for gift card and gift item purchase suggestions on the typical b-day, anniversary, holiday etc. – helping to avoid future last minute ‘Shoot, I forgot’ runs to the local mall.
Another product already in the works is the Jifiti ‘Gift It’ that has already begun to feature on prominent retail websites. The button allows users to effectively purchase a gift for someone else while leaving them to sort out the details of size, color, where to ship etc. The feature can already be seen on major bath & body retailer SabonNYC.com.
Prime real estate
Where as once a major marketing challenge for Jifiti would have been to get passed the issue of lack of sentiment facing any gift card product, let alone a virtual one, I think it safe to say we’ve moved past that. Virtual identities are now a cultural staple of life today. Some even guard and pamper their online selves more than they do their real-world versions.
What Jifiti does need to do is to sell this new reality to retailers and recruit their active involvement in pushing these products. Just like those agents who are sent out to walk the aisles of every Wal-Mart ensuring their product’s are being placed in as-agreed-upon in-store real estate, Jifiti needs to work into deals and work out with webmasters, prominent positions for their products – and then follow up on compliance.
Such work is going to take more boots on the virtual ground and boots, virtual or otherwise, costs money. Citron revealed that aside for several deals with major retail outlets in the works the company is preparing for a next-stage sized investment come early 2014. We’ll be sure to be following up with Citron for you on that. In the meantime the company is fairly preoccupied with the current holiday season.
Jifiti was founded in early 2012 by Yaakov Martin, Meir Dudai and Shaul Weisband. Among the company’s strategic partners can be found malls and retail giants like clothing outfitters American Eagle and Banana Republic, makeup brand name Sephora, and gaming chain GameStop. Jifiti’s has 12 employees working at their development center in Modi’in, Israel and at their sales and marketing offices in Ohio, U.S.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ Mobile gift shopping