In recent months there’s been growing buzz here in Israel around a small startup called The Gifts Project. Today, the startup is announcing a $1 million financing round led by Gemini Israel Funds. This follows a seed investment back in 2009 by Dr. Yossi Vardi.
With The Gifts Project, online retailers will be able to offer groups of people the ability to chip-in and buy a gift together for a mutual friend, colleague, or family member. A pretty simple idea with a promising potential considering social commerce is going gangbusters.
What makes The Gifts Project compelling in my opinion is not only the size of opportunity in social commerce, but that it’s designed to sit rather cozily within the online purchase flow. This is because, rather than a destination play, The Gifts Project is designed as a white-label solution with the intent of helping online retailers significantly raise their average sale price.
The solution, which is being kept under wraps until a debut in January, will include an analytics dashboard and a Facebook application that mirrors the group shopping functionality to be offered on the retailer’s website. There’s will also be a gift suggestion engine that leverages the recipient’s likes/interests/demographics—data pulled from his or her Facebook profile.
In fact, The Gifts Project will rely heavily on Facebook Connect to facilitate the entire user flow, from Organizer (person initiating the gift buying), to Contributors (the folks chipping-in), to the Recipient (person to receive the gift). Ron Gura, CEO, tells me that Facbook integration will not be a pre-requisite to facilitate the entire purchase process, but will certainly help.
We’ll follow-up with the company when it debuts next month. In the mean time, online retailers can sign up for access at GiftsProject.com.