Gyft Wants Us To Give Up Our Plastic Gift Cards For Good | Interview With CEO Vinny Lingham

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A TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 Finalist, Gyft said it was giving away $250k in free gift cards on its launch but that’s not what they are up to now.

Gyft, headquartered in San Francisco, California, is a digital gift card platform that simplifies managing our gift cards and Lingham promises that we are gonna ditch the plastic and use our mobile devices to store, send and redeem cards.

According to the founders, retailers can also use Gyft to help create meaningful new distribution channels by giving brands visibility into the consumers that hold their gift cards. The merchants can drive customer acquisition, increase shopper interaction and drive social engagement.

And they want as many retailers to become partners easily through their partner program, just like the hundreds of retailers enjoying the convenience of gift cards right through mobile phones.

Gyft works simply. You simply uploads their physical gift cards for the details to be stored in their wallet securely and conveniently. This can later be redeemed in-store or online from a phone.

According to the firm, you can buy and send cards directly to friends on any occasion like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries - via Facebook, email or text. Gyft also enables you to regift any card from their Gyft wallet.

TechZulu caught up with Vinny Lingham, CEO Gyft and he told us briefly what Gyft is up to.

What is Gyft and when was it founded by who?

Gyft is a mobile gift card wallet, founded by Vinny Lingham, Mark Levitt & CJ MacDonald.

What do you do?

We allow users to upload their existing plastic gift cards into the app and always keep a digital version with them.  We also allow users to buy and send gift cards to friends on Facebook.

Any competition?

There are many companies doing similar things, but Gyft is unique in it’s approach – for the moment, at least. We have built a beautiful application, that is very user friendly.  We have recreated a digital version of the gift giving and receiving experience.

Who is on your retailer list or will be?

If you try to send a gift card from the app, our full merchant list is there – it’s constantly changing. At the moment we have over 200 major retailers with top ones like Amazon, Brookstone, Lowe’s, Toys “R” Us, Sephora.

What inspired you?

I saw the future with mobile payment apps, and focused on building something that people would use.

What else have you done before gyft?

I am also the former founder & CEO of Clicks2Customers & Yola.com

Why not plastic cards?

You try carrying 100 plastic cards with you, where you go…

What do i get as a user? any incentives?

We’re giving away $250k in free gift cards for our launch, to users who sign up with Gyft.

Have you got any funding, by who, how many rounds?

We’ve raised $1.25m in funding, in a round led by Google Ventures.

What are your distribution plans?

Confidential :-)

Are you available on Android, iOS or where?

We’re on iOS, but launching Android in Q1 2013  (although you can receive cards on an Android device)

Sam Wakoba

Sam Wakoba travels around the world's technology hubs and events writing about startups, VC’ s and ventures. Spends nights reviewing trending gadgets, ICT initiatives, and disrupting technology.

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  • ali naqvi

    Oh…what an awesome post…how can i use these designs for my plastic cards? keep it up..!!!!

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