While giving money is popular every holiday season there is no denying that it is a hassle to write all the checks and wait for them to be deposited. On the other hand, sending cash through Paypal or Venmo is a seemingly classless way to give a gift. With Tendr this is a problem of the past. The platform allows you to send an online cash gift with a professional and thoughtful card at a minimum cost. The app is making the most common gift, money, formal again without sacrificing any convenience.
Today we touch base with cofounder and CEO Jeff Beil to discuss the need for Tendr and where the company plans to go from here.
Tell us about the product or service.
Tendr is a simple and elegant way to give money digitally. Money is the most requested gift for every large or small milestone in life – whether for an upcoming wedding, graduation, baby, new house or birthday – but until now, there hasn’t been a safe, convenient and elegant way to send money digitally. Tendr makes giving and receiving cash gifts a seamless and beautiful experience for the most important occasions. No more lost checks. No more going to the card store, the bank or the post office. No more waiting.
How is it different?
Tendr elevates the experience of giving and receiving money through art and design. Tendr is also much more convenient and secure than paper checks, as well as far warmer and more personal than Paypal or Square. The difference is in our gallery of digital cards designed by some of the most talented professional artists from around the world.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Giving money for special occasions is a $30-$40 billion market. That said, it’s hard to know for sure because it’s mostly done offline.
What is the business model?
Tendr charges a $3 per-gift fee, which goes toward supporting our staff and network of professional artists. Our artists receive a cut of every single gift.
What inspired the business?
Tendr was created one summer after the co-founders went to an impressive number of celebrations for their friends and family. During those few months, we observed something interesting: people like to give and receive money. In fact, people have been giving money as a gift for centuries. The problem is, not much has changed in terms of how cash gifts are given.
We felt that the traditional way of giving cash was becoming especially arduous in the digital age. However, according to our research, consumers found online payment services too transactional. Thus, we set out to create a platform that combined online cash transfers with beautifully designed cards to easily send and receive cash gifts, and Tendr was born!
Why the pivot?
It’s not really a pivot, but Tendr will be re-launching as a more universal platform. It had previously served as a cash gift registry, in which the recipient had to have created a Tendr page in order for gift givers to send money through the platform, and recipients were also charged a 5% fee based on the price of their gift.
The new version of Tendr will no longer require a registry page, so that everyone can seamlessly send or receive send cash gifts paired with beautifully designed cards for every small or large milestone in life. Additionally, in place of the previous 5% fee will be a flat per-gift price of $3, no matter the value of the gift. This way, recipients get the full amount of the gift and the cost is far less than a standard paper card, plus more eco friendly.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Six months from now is an important time for Tendr. We are already making preparations for a meaningful and fun holiday season. We want to be the go-to service for Christmas, Hanukkah and Chinese New Year gifts this winter. Our team is already preparing to make that a reality.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
There is so much advice out there. If you read enough, you’ll hear everything. That said, I try to adhere to a few guiding principles. The main one is to consider your environment and community carefully. Work with people who push and inspire you, but also who you feel you will do your best work next to.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
We are really impressed and inspired by what Carter Cleveland has done with Artsy. The use of technology to make the experience of finding and purchasing art more magical has certain similarities to what we’re trying to accomplish. It would be great to meet those guys and compare notes.
Why did you launch in New York?
Tendr is headquartered at Friends Work Here, a co-working space founded by Creative Mornings, Tattly, and swiss-miss.com creator Tina Roth Eisenberg. We’re in the Invisible Dog building in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn where we are surrounded by incredibly talented creatives, artists, and engineers. There is no better place for a design-centric company like Tendr in the world.
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
No question, it’s Alma in Red Hook.