Tech Pitch: giftwaffles.com

Like crowdfunding but for presents, this clever online platform enables friends, family and colleagues to collaborate, contribute money and order gift cards

Company name: giftwaffles.com
Founder: Joumana Lahoud (32)
Background: Lahoud’s background is in management and strategy consulting.
Based in: London, UK
Launched: August 2017

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

Our idea is simple. Our website helps people club together to get bigger and better gifts for special occasions: birthdays, baby showers, office leaving gifts, etc. Whether for a personal or professional occasion, in a couple of clicks you can:

 
  1. Personalise a gift page, describing the occasion and date of the celebration – it could be for a friend, a family member, a colleague, etc.
  2. Share the web link via email, text, Whatsapp, etc. – with all those who wish to contribute to the group gift.
  3. Receive online contributions from others along with personal greeting messages.
  4. Use the balance to purchase one or multiple gift vouchers from the UK’s most popular retailers including Amazon UK, John Lewis, Ticketmaster and many more – delivered in most cases instantly by email.

It’s all online, it’s easy, convenient and flexible for everyone involved. Whether organising a collection to buy an extra special gift for someone – concert tickets, a stroller or even a first laptop – or simply pooling money to offer the recipient a voucher from their favourite store, our website will allow users to do just that – in a few simple clicks.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

On special occasions (birthdays, baby showers, etc.) we often receive gifts that end up being unused, re-gifted, re-sold or sadly piling up on our ever-growing landfills. A lot of time and a lot of money is wasted in this whole gift exchange process; for both gift givers and receivers.

Clubbing together for a group gift – with friends, family or colleagues – is often the only way to buy a gift that will be truly loved. Yet, this comes with the usual logistical nightmare: lengthy coordination, out-of-pocket expenses, awkward money-chasing between friends, bank transfers, tatty envelopes going round the office… Basically, old school problems.

That’s why we created www.giftwaffles.com to allow groups of people to organise a group gift, online, with no hassle whatsoever; and give the recipient the chance to choose a gift they really want or need. Saving time and money for gift givers and making sure the recipient gets a truly memorable gift, every time.

Is giftwaffles.com funded?

We have self-funded so far and are planning to raise external funding very soon.

What were you doing before starting?

After graduating with a masters in finance from the London School of Economics, I worked at McKinsey & Co. and Gallup consulting for many years. I have always wanted to start my own business, and had many ideas before this – but giftwaffles.com is the one I felt most passionate about.

What’s the best thing about being based in London?

London has so much to offer, it’s hard to think about just one thing! It’s a very inspiring place to be for entrepreneurs, and specifically for female-led start-ups.

I currently work from an amazing co-working space which provides access to a great network of start-ups and professionals. I have also joined several communities and constantly surround myself with like-minded entrepreneurs to share experiences, struggles and successes. There’s a very active start-up scene here and it’s great to be part of it.