Giving a gift as a group can be a touching way to show appreciation. However, organizing a group gift can also be surprisingly stressful. It can be hard to find the perfect present, and coordinating money and ideas with others can get complicated.

GiftCrowd’s platform smooths out the messiness of group gifts. Contributors simply compile money and sincere words online, and the gift recipient is able to turn the money into a gift card of their choosing. We reached out to company founder, CEO, and Director Eshed Doni to learn the inspiration that created GiftCrowd and why the team united behind its mission.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Funding Round Details

GiftCrowd logo
Company: GiftCrowd
Security Type: Equity - Common
Valuation: $5,794,381
Min Investment: $100
Platform: StartEngine
Deadline: Feb 21, 2022
View Deal

In your own words, how would you describe the company?

GiftCrowd is the most convenient way to gift as a group, addressing a very common need. The average American family participates in 10 group gifts a year. GiftCrowd is pioneering this $20 billion annual market and provides a consumer solution as well as a unique, first-of-its-kind solution for school-parent associations that makes it easy to gift the whole school staff during the holidays and the end of the school year. Teacher gifting is the most popular type of group gifting, with a $5 billion annual market.

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

As a parent, I volunteered once to purchase a Christmas gift for my son’s beloved teacher. I was shocked to see how cumbersome and time-consuming the process was. Learning that the same pain was shared by many other parents I spoke with and not being able to find any solution that addresses this pretty common need, I realized that there was a huge potential here.

How is GiftCrowd transforming the gift buying industry?

GiftCrowd changes the world of group gifting by providing a straightforward online group-gifting experience, replacing an otherwise cumbersome process. GiftCrowd takes care of the gifting transaction while maintaining the psychological aspects of gift giving and receiving.

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Everyone on my team is a parent who experienced the painful process of gifting as a group first-hand, and we all live not far from each other in neighboring towns in Bergen County, NJ. Guy Praisler, our CTO, has built numerous software-as-a-service and marketplace solutions. He is intrigued by real-life problems that require technology-based solutions and is well familiar with the value we bring to group gifting as a whole and teacher gifting specifically, as his wife is a very active class mom. Irit Maor, our schools outreach manager, founded the parent teacher organization in her son’s school. She started to use GiftCrowd as an easy solution to give gifts to the whole staff in her son’s school and became a brand ambassador for GiftCrowd even before she came on board. Nir Katuni, who heads our data and analytics, was introduced to me through a common friend, as he was looking to join a startup that addresses real-life problems. Nir strongly believes in focusing on the things that matter in life and is passionate about saving people time through the use of technology.

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Surprisingly, GiftCrowd only has a couple of competitors. After analyzing the reasons why other group-gifting solutions failed, we learned that we must focus on all three types of users: gift creators, gift participants, and gift recipients. Neglecting one causes the whole value chain to break, and we felt that both HipChip and eGifter — our direct competitors — failed to deliver sufficient value to at least one type of users. GiftCrowd is currently the leading group-gifting solution, both at schools and among consumers.

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

After validating and polishing our product-market fit to ensure we maintain very high retention rates, we are looking to significantly increase our marketing and advertising spend, and we plan to use the money we raise for that purpose.

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

I would like potential investors to know that GiftCrowd started due to an urge to solve a problem that I experienced personally and realized that the same problem was shared by many. Since then, we took the time to optimize our user experience and perfect our product-market fit, and only now, when we are ready for prime time after demonstrating high retention and virality, are we looking to raise funding in order to accelerate our growth and spread the word faster.

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

In five to 10 years, I clearly see GiftCrowd as one of the top three online gifting solutions in the US and the de-facto standard for teacher gifting. While I am not thinking about exit right now and instead am 100% focused on expanding our reach, within those five to 10 years, we will continue to increase both our top-line revenue and margins, to create a highly profitable company that pioneers a very significant market, and as such, there will be quite a few companies who will be interested in acquiring GiftCrowd.

We look forward to seeing where Eshed and his team take the company. GiftCrowd is currently raising on StartEngine.