“In the Studio,” Gyft’s Vinny Lingham Presents A Brilliantly Dead-Simple Idea For Holiday Gift-Giving

Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners and has been a contributor to TechCrunch since January 2011. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

“In the Studio” powers through Black Friday by welcoming a serial entrepreneur, originally from South Africa, who has now started his third company out of Palo Alto and timed his moves perfectly for recent advances in mobile hardware and the holiday season.

Vinny Lingham, the CEO and co-founder of Gyft, has devised a brilliantly dead-simple idea to attack the growing gift card market and enable both the purchasing of and redemption of cards through mobile phones. With Gyft, consumers can give, receive, and use gift cards from scores of other merchants with a simple mobile application and a few touches. A step further, Gyft had the foresight to realize the possibilities with iOS 6 and Passbook, making their offering fully-integrated with Passbook cards. (You can check out the app here, as well as their innovative incentive system to encourage signups. Gyft was also covered earlier in the year by TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez after integrating with Passbook.)

In this discussion, Lingham and I discuss his path to starting his third company, how he views the Valley versus building a company in San Francisco versus Palo Alto, what possibilities Passbook may hold for other iPhone developers, what the gift card market may look like in 2013 (exploding!), and how the idea of Gyft came to be in the first place. I’d recommend this video for anyone building a mobile app, as Lingham demonstrates how simplicity in mobile apps and execution actually creates a competitive advantage.