We love to receive gift cards, but as presents go, they’re a bit of a cop-out. Sure, recipients choose exactly what they want, but where’s the indication someone thought about you when they chose that present? And, of course, the easiest and quickest way to send gift certificates is often digitally (I’m thinking of you, eleventh-hour shoppers), but that adds yet another level of impersonalization. Where’s the fun package? The ribbon? The bow? An envelope for crying out loud?
Enter Delightfully, an MIT start-up that aims to infuse giving these electronic parcels with a warmer, fuzzier vibe. Cofounded by Sloan MBA student Jason Shin, James Barabas SM ’06, and Gina Luciano, Delightfully allows people to pair an electronic gift certificate with a meaningful experience, like “wrapping” it with a collage of personal photos or requiring a recipient to travel along a virtual map toward a prize at the end. See how it all works in the video below.
Cofounders are also working on developing video games personalized with photos that recipients must play before receiving their gift and are considering scavenger hunts that require people to visit various locations with their mobile device before unlocking a present.
According to Boston.com, Delightfully has raised about $100K in angel funding, led by Avid Technology founder Bill Warner, and cofounders are hoping e-commerce sites might license the technology in addition to gift-givers using the service directly. Delightfully was one of 125 finalists (out of 1,237 entrants) in the MassChallenge 2012 Accelerator Program. This past summer, the company participated in MIT’s newest and largest startup accelerator, the Beehive Cooperative, which is an initiative of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship that provides summer office space to early-stage companies, each of which must have at least one current MIT student on its founding team.
Starting this week, Delightfully is releasing a limited number of invitations to the service and encourage thoughtful gift givers to sign up for an invite.