‘Intelligent Gifting’ start-up promises to remove Christmas shopping stress

Thepresent.co uses Facebook data for gift recommendations

A new ‘intelligent gifting’ start-up that claims to use algorithms to pick the perfect present for customer’s loved ones has launched, backed by £1.5m of private sector investment.

Founded this year, Thepresent.co takes public information about a customer’s Facebook friend – or info filled out in a survey – and uses algorithms based on style and interests to pick a gift from its database, which range in price from £8 to £80,000.

The web app will suggest suitable gifts within the price range picked, and users are then directed to purchase the gift from the linked e-commerce retailer, which Thepresent.co wraps and delivers automatically.

Thepresent.co’s founding team is comprised of experienced figures within the tech and venture capital sectors: former chairman of Hambros Bank Rupert Hambro is a founder, alongside venture capitalist Charlotte-Anne Swerling, serial entrepreneur Dominic Perks and CEO David Yalland, formerly of LivingSocial.

The company hopes to offer a unique service in the fast-growing world of online retail, in which total UK sales are expected to break the £10bn barrier for the first time this year, according to management consultancy Capgemini and industry group IMRG.

The site is pitched at “time-poor” professionals on a budget; most gift ideas cost under £100 and include leather flasks, a breakfast-in-bed hamper and a rideable two-metre giraffe.

In a display of faith in ThePresent.co’s potential, private investors including Goldman Sachs have already backed the start-up with £1.5m seed investment, which will be used to refine and market its offering and rapidly grow the young business.

Chief operating officer Charlotte-Anne Swerling explained: “We recognise how overwhelming Christmas shopping can be – often the reason shoppers procrastinate is because they feel so blinded by choice that their only decision is no decision.

“That’s why we have developed ThePresent.Co. All it takes is a few clicks and the ideal gift is selected, beautifully wrapped and delivered.  It’s personal shopping in the digital age”.

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