We all know those people who are incredible gift givers that make the rest of us look bad. While you may never aspire to master the art of gift-giving, this NYC startup helps you give the perfect gift each holiday, birthday, and anniversary. Token is an AI-powered gift-giving platform that combines the power of technology with personal curation to select the ideal gift that the recipient will love. The company also wraps the gifts and takes on delivery; taking any logistical stress out of the picture. The company recently raised $2.5M in Seed funding from Human Ventures, Slow Ventures, and Upfront Ventures and plans to become the first stop for any gifting occasion.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and cofounder Jonathan Jarvis about the company and how they plan to expand.
Tell us about the product or service.
Token is your personal gifting assistant. Our premium gift-giving mobile app uniquely combines artificial intelligence with personal curation to help shoppers find the perfect gift. Our company’s technology platform and dedicated team of experts recommend and deliver tailored presents, on-demand, with beautiful presentation.
How is it different?
Token makes the entire process of giving a gift easier: we remind you when you want to give, we help you find the right gift, make it simple to buy and deliver it impressively wrapped. We believe this makes us different. No one else has brought assistance to the entire process, nor built a platform that combines a team of trained gift experts with A.I. tools for quality and scale.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Gift-giving in the US is a $131 billion-dollar market. And that is with the current, painful, time-intensive, highly abandoned experience. We think that by removing the hassle and helping people give the gifts they wouldn’t otherwise give, we can expand the market as well.
What is the business model?
Token profits from two revenue streams: partnership fees and service charges.
What inspired the business?
On Christmas Eve a few years ago, I was standing in a department store, searching desperately for the perfect gift. The next day, I was bringing my girlfriend home to my parent’s house for the first time, and I wanted to impress her.
Having worked at Google for over six years, I knew a thing or two about search — but I still couldn’t find the right gift. Thankfully, a salesperson saw me panicking and offered her expertise. By asking me a few questions about who I was shopping for, she was able to make the perfect gift suggestion — a beautiful trench coat.
Without realizing it at the time, I found the perfect gift for the woman I would end up marrying — as well as the inspiration for my future company: Token.
I knew firsthand that gift-giving can feel overwhelming, which may be why so many people simply avoid it. I saw the experience as an untapped opportunity to combine human expertise with the scalable infrastructure of insight and analytics. With that, Token was borne.
How do you approach user acquisition in a space that seems crowded like gift giving?
Gifting is the most social form of commerce. We’ve seen many gift-getters become gift-givers. One aspect our users love about our service is the way we wrap and present their gifts, and that’s lead to organic growth and word of mouth.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Lots of repeat gifters! I think that most gifts go un-given, and that with a little help, we can unlock people’s inner thoughtfulness and generosity.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Your team is everything.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
I’d love to be put in touch with Michael Bloomberg. He understands the power of relationships better than most.
Why did you launch in New York?
Because it’s the best city in the universe! But, also because New York City is where many of our best users live and work — they are busy, successful people whom value relationships and what to show how they feel in a way that stands out. They want to build stronger bonds, both personally and professionally, and are eager for a service that helps them do so!
What’s your favorite rooftop bar in NYC to unwind?
I usually hang out in basements! But our head of partnerships loves to hangout at the William Vale in his neighborhood in Williamsburg. It’s has amazing views of downtown Manhattan. I’ve always wanted to go up on the roof at the Nomad Hotel.