Ziftit stealthily raises $2M to "make gifting easy"

By Nathaniel Mott , written on October 10, 2012

From The News Desk

The holidays must be right around the corner. Starbucks is selling their Pumpkin Spice Latte (assuming they have the blend in stock), New York has gone cold, and another gift-giving startup is prepping for its time in the limelight. Gift-giving startups have raised funding, in Wantful's case, or been acquired, in Karma's, since the beginning of 2012, and the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to expand or introduce new gift-centric services.

Ziftit, a company that plans to "make gifting easy," according to its website, has raised $2 million of a $2.5 million round. The company is currently in stealth mode, and users are prompted to sign up for a waitlist when they visit its homepage. And by stealth mode, I mean stealth mode – beyond that "make gifting easy" tagline, the company hasn't left many clues as to what exactly it's meant to do.

Paul Buss, the company's CEO and former CEO at SkinIt, and Ricky Lopez, Ziftit's VP of product, founded the company in 2011. Besides a few images of the team sailing and a "making gifting easy" banner image, the company's Facebook profile is relatively sparse. Ditto for its LinkedIn page, and the company doesn't even have a public Twitter account. They really, really don't want people finding out what they do before they're ready to launch, it seems.

One of the two comments on the company's Facebook page consists of a user requesting that the company add the ability to import the items that they have saved to their Pinterest account – the company replied that it "had the same idea over here" and, patient bunch that they are, asked the user to hang tight and wait for updates.

Hopefully users won't have to wait much longer. Ziftit is looking to compete in an already-crowded space, with established players like Wantful and, with the relaunch of its Gifts feature, Facebook, ready to fight for customers during the holiday season. Facebook started pushing birthdays in front of its users' faces and put Gifts just one tap away from the main News Feed, putting more emphasis on this potentially profitable aspect of its business. It isn't hard to imagine it doing something similar for the holidays.

Wantful recently released a service called Wantful Corporate to improve gift-giving for employers, and has plans to introduce new services just in time for the shopping frenzy in November and December. And Facebook... well, it's Facebook – it's hard to compete with a company that has 1 billion users and needs to find a way to turn those users into revenue streams. Unless Ziftit plans on launching in time for next year's holidays, the time to step out of the shadows is now.

{Illustration by Hallie Bateman]