Lifestyle

Gratafy begins national rollout to help you give the ideal gift

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Gratafy lets you tell people you care in a universally satisfying way — through booze and sugar.

You use the social gifting platform to send friends and family gifts that no-one could refuse — drinks, dinners, and desserts. The Seattle-based startup entered the Los Angeles market today and released the second version of its platform. It has also raised a hefty $2.45 million in seed financing to fuel further expansion.

Gratafy takes advantage of a simple fact of modern life: Most of us don’t need more scarves, sushi sets, and quirky pictures frames. Rather than searching for the “perfect gift,” which so often ends up going unused (or rarely used), Gratafy enables you to send people items from their favorite bars and restaurants. You select a Facebook friend in the app, choose something off a menu or a gift certificate, and compose a message. Gratafy will notify your friend of the gift to redeem at their leisure.

Gratafy launched in November of 2012. It currently works with 200 high-end merchants (sending someone a Doritos Locos taco is not an option), so the gifts feel like a splurge. Merchants appreciate the platform because it helps them attract customers and gain exposure. They have an easy opportunity to sell their products online, and Gratafy said that customers frequently “overspend” by 500 percent on redeemed gifts — one glass of Prosecco so easily turns into five, particularly when you are celebrating. Gratafy can also be useful in situations when you want to send a small token (like when a friend has a bad day and you send them a pint of their favorite beer).

People have been sending each other gifts via the Internet for years, but like most areas of e-commerce, the shopping experience is changing. Consumers are looking for curated, personalized experiences. There is also a major Internet trend right now towards facilitating local, offline experiences, largely driven by mobile devices which enable people to access gifts, coupons, tickets on-the-go. Social gifting platform Wrapp recently raised $15 million in its second round of funding and Wantful has raised $5.5 million for its approach to gifting that gives recipients a customized catalog to choose from. News broke earlier this month that Groupon acquired Plumfare, a startup that lets you gift items to friends from local merchants.

Gratafy sits at the intersection of all those trends — it is social, local, and mobile, and it addresses the age-old problem of what to buy someone for a gift. The company has raised $2.45 million in seed funding from angel investors, including former general counsel of Facebook and VP of legal at Amazon Rudy Gadre.