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:
- Personalise a gift page, describing the occasion and date of the celebration – it could be for a friend, a family member, a colleague, etc.
- Share the web link via email, text, Whatsapp, etc. – with all those who wish to contribute to the group gift.
- Receive online contributions from others along with personal greeting messages.
- 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.