My calendar is mostly filled with Facebook birthdays, these days, and at best those notifications will prompt me to post on someone’s wall once a year. Gftr, a project from TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013’s Hackathon, wants to use those birthdays to power more meaningful gift-giving, thanks to crowdsourcing and the one day every year when people have the most goodwill directed towards them.
Other companies have created crowdsourced gifting platforms in the past, but Gftr wants to make it possible to not just split a hugely expensive thing equally between a group of friends, but also to pull in contributions of varying amounts from your entire social graph. Currently, Gftr works with Facebook, meaning that maybe your friend from grade school who you haven’t seen in 15 years throws in $2, but your significant other offers up $300, all with the goal of getting you a brand new DSLR, for instance.
The team behind Gftr includes Anthony Guidarelli, Vishal Gupta, Andrew Emerson, Aaron Lu, Cyrus Rahman, and Pat McCreary, and is composed of designers and hackers from Avenue B Labs, a New York-based group of entrepreneurs. They say they plan to actually build Gftr into a full product, and will work on extending it across other social media platforms, including Twitter.
There’s also a charitable angle, as Gftr says they could build in a function where any contributions to a group gift above the total required value would go towards a charity of the gift-giver or gift-receiver’s choosing. This could help people with huge social media followings not only get gifts they actually need, but also use their considerable influence to do some good at the same time.
Getting gifts is nice, but the power for any one person to get somebody something they genuinely need and will enjoy is greatly diminished compared to a group pooling their resources. No other startup in this space has really become a runaway success yet, so it isn’t clear that people are all that interested in coming together to get someone something awesome, but the way Gftr tries to make the investment required negligible could help it succeed where others have failed.