Facebook’s entry into the gift card market hasn’t stopped third parties from using the network for social gifting. GroupGifti
eGifter sells gift cards from 100 major brands that people can give to their friends through Facebook on iOS, Android, or the web.
Facebook may be a very public place to send a gift, but it’s also a convenient one, with birthday notifications and status updates from friends that make it nearly impossible to forget an important occasion. Unlike Facebook, which focuses on plastic cards and physical goods, eGifter specializes in digital gift cards that can be redeemed immediately. The company also competes with other third parties like the Swedish company Wrapp.
“Ultimately, Facebook will compete, but we see them as an enabling platform for partners in their ecosystem regardless of the fact that they are a competitor,” added eGifter VP of PR and social media marketing Bill Egan.
Comparing Facebook to other companies that work with third parties, Egan noted that sales via third party sellers made up 39 percent of Amazon’s total sales in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to statistics released by Amazon. “We believe the Facebook ecosystem will have similar dynamics,” he said.
“The market is enormous,” Egan added, citing CEB Tower Group’s prediction that digital gift card spending will grow from $3 billion in 2013 to $12 billion by 2015 as evidence. “We think that we may be able to eke out a living without having to own the whole market,” he said.
With 50,000 members, eGifter has access to 12 million friends with 30,000 reported birthdays and counting.
Leading the funding round was Newlight Management’s Bob Grill, who also directs the LIAN and services on the Board of GroupGifting.com. Other participants included Barry Rubenstein from Wheatley Partners, Steve Winick from Topspin Partners, and David Calone from Jove Equity Partners.The company has raised more than $1 million to date and is planning on another round in 2013.
Egan, VP of business development Tracey Klein, and company founders Tyler Roye, CEO, Eric Manno, COO, Mark Manno CFO, and David Levinsky, CTO had worked together on a previous venture, Invision, which was sold to mindSHIFT in 2007 and resold to Best Buy in 2011. With the funds, the company plans to bring the service to more than 300 brands in 2013.