The gifting space has been very hot lately in the web world — Facebook is even seeing gift-giving as having major potential for boosting its revenue — and now another brand new startup is throwing its hat into the ring. Given.to made its official debut last week at NewMe Accelerator’s Fall 2012 Demo Day with the aim of making pitching in money with a group of people to buy a gift for someone “stress-free, and guess-free.”
Given’s founder Michael Washington tells us that his company has made a platform that lets people create wish lists of things that they actually want. Then, their friends and families can use Given to pitch in as little as $1 toward buying one of those items as a gift. These potential gifts go from physical items such as iPads, to digital items such as mobile apps, to actual experiences such as vacations. The entire thing is integrated with PayPal to ensure that the financial aspect is safe and secure. At the moment, Washington says, the company is testing its platform in beta mode, with a more widescale launch planned for the near future.
Given is not without competitors — recent Y Combinator grad CrowdTilt is one startup that does a similar thing — but that can just go to illustrate how much of an opportunity is here. The Given app looks slick and simple, which is what’s needed to appeal to a mass audience. It’ll be a good one to watch going forward.
Last week, seven startups launched out of the Fall 2012 class of the NewMe Accelerator, a startup incubator program for underrepresented minorities in the tech industry. NewMe is a residential program, meaning that the founders of the startups in each class all live together in the same house in San Francisco for 12 weeks, eating, sleeping, and breathing the tech startup lifestyle. Along the way they receive mentorship from some of Silicon Valley’s most respected people as they hone their company strategies.
We had six of the seven new NewMe companies stop by TechCrunch HQ to give us their quick pitches and talk a bit about NewMe and their plans going forward (one startup was tied up in investor meetings, so had to take a pass on the press — which is always a good thing!) In a series of posts going forward, we’ll give you a look at each one of these companies. You can find them all by going to TechCrunch.com/tag/NewMeFall2012.