Gift giving just got a whole lot easier. The social gifting company Wrapp, currently only available in Sweden, has snagged $5.5 million in a first round of funding to bring its innovative service to the United States and United Kingdom.
There’s certainly plenty of room to innovate in the gift card arena, and it’s also a lucrative market, accounting for $100 billion annual sales in the U.S. alone.
Using friend birthday data from your Facebook account, Wrapp’s mobile apps and website makes it easy to keep track of upcoming birthdays and send digital gift cards from participating brands. What makes Wrapp special is its focus on offering free gift cards, which retail partners are hoping you’ll top off with additional funds before you send them to friends.
After gifting a card to a friend, other friends can see the card on the recipient’s Facebook account and chip in additional funds. The gift card remains “wrapped” on the recipients Facebook page until the day of their birthday, which adds a nice bit of mystery to a traditionally boring gift card transaction. Wrapp’s cards can only be redeemed using its iOS or iPhone app
Wrapp was co-founded by founding Spotify CTO Andreas Ehn and Hjalmar Winbladh, founding CEO of the VoIP company Rebtel. “We were intrigued by the concept that gift giving is much nicer than gift buying,” Winbladh told VentureBeat in an interview months ago. “This is not discounting or daily deals. This is turbo-charged gift giving.”
The funding comes from Atomico, a venture capital firm founded by Skype and Kazaa co-founder Niklas Zennström (who is also joining Wrapp’s board), and existing investor Creandum, a Nordic venture firm.