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Before the Internet, this great big world of ours often felt bigger. For those with friends or family in far-flung parts of the world, it was once much more difficult to properly stay in contact. Now, the digital divide seems to shrink by the day, and it’s easier than ever to talk to anyone, anywhere—but we still lack certain things that in-person relationships take for granted, such as gift giving.

Gyfted, an FI San Fransico portfolio company, is an ecommerce platform built for long-distance gift giving, focused entirely on the gifting experience. Led by Founder & CEO Luis Javier Hernandez Derbez, Gyfted makes it easier than ever to find a gift for someone abroad, moving far beyond the ‘check box if a gift’ mentality of standard e-commerce store gifting.

According to CEO Hernandez Derbez, 

Gyfted simplifies and personalizes the long-distance gifting experience. We currently live in a world that is more global than ever before and more digital. This is why we believe people are going to gift more online. Because the world is more global, there are more people that need to buy a gift for a person that lives in a different city or country, and the problem with this is that a lot of ecommerce stores were built for someone, for yourself, but not a third-party, not for someone else. 

Unlike standard ecommerce experiences, the Gyfted checkout experience is designed entirely for the buying specifically of gifts, for others receiving them in remote places. So when you favorite and group things, or even simply put in the shipping information, everything is focused on delivering a personalized experience for you, and upon receipt, for that special someone you care about receiving your gift. 

According to a Deloitte report associated with annual holiday sales, “once the pre-purchase research is done and gift decisions made, 57% of this year’s holiday dollars will go through online channels, with in-store capturing 36% of spending.” Another report from Internet Retailer showed that a majority of shoppers (73%) planned to by at least 25% of all their gifts online.

Looking beyond just the consumer space, Gyfted has also built a solution for brands to benefit from the custom gift-giving experience. As most ecommerce merchants and retailers already heavily rely on pre-built plugins and tools, Gyfted’s B2B plugin is likely to be a major growth driver as the company moves forward. This comes at a pivotal moment in ecommerce history, as much of online sales are trend towards the big ecommerce monsters like Amazon and Walmart. Hernandez Derbez notes,

There is a divide between the Amazons that are selling goods but only up to certain price points. A lot of luxury brands, they don’t sell on Amazon. If you are going to get into ecommerce, you definitely need to find your niche. That, for me, means you go more high end, so you don’t have to compete with Amazon, or you just find a very small niche with the non-expensive stuff.

And the reasoning for this is simple: small ecommerce shops simply can’t compete with what Amazon has to offer at scale. However, by offering products, be it due to price point or brand or it being specialized/niche/curated items, it’s now also become easier than ever to stand out. Gyfted is focusing entirely on gifting, and on higher-end products and experiences, which puts them in a unique position where Amazon does not have an especially strong competitive offer. Additionally, even though Amazon supports most major countries, it does not offer the same level of support in smaller regions as compared to its support within the U.S. This is another of the motivating factors that led to the launch of Gyfted, as CEO Hernandez Derbez traveled often and lived abroad starting from a young age.

Interestingly though, Gyfted didn’t initially set out to become a company helping connect people through gifting across the world - it started with a focus on augmented reality. Through a natural progression, the team found a real issue within long-distance relationships that needed a solution: gifting was a full pivot, executed over a prevailing mission to better connect people across distances. 

Innovation Cultivated By Lifelong Time Abroad

Prior to the pivot, Hernandez Derbez was something of a world traveler. He was born and raised in the Northern part of Mexico, and bordering close to the U.S., spent many of his summers in the U.S. at various sports camps. This planted a bug from an early age, leading to his desire to regularly travel and see the world.

This was built upon during high school years spent in Switzerland. Hernandez Derbez continued in Europe for his undergrad and post-grad programs in the Netherlands, where he studied economics and finance. From there, he headed off to Italy for a time, and eventually made his way back to Mexico. 

Throughout his young life, Hernandez Derbez has met so many different people from around the world, and thanks to technology, is more able than ever to keep up with them. However, when it comes to sending congratulatory or birthday gifts, there wasn’t an ideal solution until Gyfted was born.

Gyfted is set to launch out of Beta soon, and will be announcing on Product Hunt. They will initially offer their gift-giving platform to those in the U.S. and Mexico, and over the next few months expand further out into other English speaking countries.

 

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $1B in funding, and building products people love across over 185 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey


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