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Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Style of Listed Startup "GIFTY"|Providing services that nurture various connections between people, companies, and towns based on e-gifting.

The "Startup Styles" series focuses on startups that have not lost their acceleration of growth, and delivers firsthand accounts of their failures, stories of overcoming obstacles, and success stories. In this issue, we interviewed Mr. Tatsuya Suzuki, Representative Director of GIFTY Corporation, who says that the need for their services is growing more and more in the Corona Disaster.

We want to eliminate the loss of feelings through gifts.

Please tell us about the social issues you want to solve through your services, including your vision and mission.

Suzuki:Our service is,One means of connecting people to people, people to companies, and people to cities through e-gifts and fostering various relationships.We are aware that you are using e-Gifts as a medium to form your feelings and make connections. We recognize that our clients are using eGift as a medium to formulate their feelings and make connections.

When physical gifts are given to each other, there are inevitably shipping costs and the time required to go to the store to buy and receive the gift. This makes it very easy to give even low-unit-price items.

Recently, there are more opportunities than in the past to find out about friends' birthdays through social networking services, etc. By using e-Gifts instead of simply sending a message of "Happy Birthday! By using e-gifts, you can give shape to your feelings for your friend and have more opportunities to express your feelings. If a simple "Happy Birthday" message is not enough, and if the relationship does not involve going out of your way to meet and give a gift, you end up losing the feeling of wanting to wish the other person a happy birthday without taking any action. I believe that e-gifting is a means of preventing this loss of feelings, and I am working to create a society in which feelings can circulate and circulate more effectively if e-gifting is used effectively.

I think it's hard for people to live alone,If you have more opportunities to feel that your friends, family, and others around you are thinking of you, you will inevitably feel more connected to your surroundingsSh,If you feel connected, you'll feel like you're surrounded by people who support you.This will help you in your professional and personal life.Makes it easier to take on challenges.I think.

We ourselves have felt that when we take on a challenge, it is good to have someone who says, "I support you," or "I will cover for you even if you fail," and we have felt this every day as we have started our own businesses. That's what we felt every day when we started our own business,We would like to expand the means of nurturing connections by giving form to our feelings.I believe that this is a good idea.

Strengths and challenges we face in the Corona Disaster

Can you talk about the strengths and challenges of your services in light of the current situation in Corona?

Suzuki:As the corona outbreak spreads, more and more companies are shifting to remote work, but in situations where employees cannot see each other, more and more companies are implementing things like "let's all get together for lunch, even if it's just via Zoom," or "let's have a drink via Zoom. For example,The company pays for and distributes e-gifts of delivery-based food vouchers handled by Gifty to its employees.As in,More and more customers are using e-Gifts as a part of their benefit packageThe following is a list of the most common problems with the

At first, foreign financial institutions adopted the program, and I thought, "That's a very foreign policy," but then it was followed by large Japanese corporations and even startups,As a means of conveying to employees that the company is thinking of them even though they have fewer opportunities to work with them face to face.The number of cases of giving e-gifts of pizza, delivery food, and video streaming services that can be enjoyed at home is also increasing,Distinctive e-Gift Applications in the Corona DisasterI think it is.

Gifty's business strengths included the provision, distribution, and sales (individual and corporate) of systems for generating e-gifts,A single point of contact for the e-gifting industry value chainWe serve both brands that issue eGifts and individuals and corporations that purchase eGifts,Matching the needs of both partiesThe number of brands issuing e-gifts will increase the number of users, and vice versa. Therefore, as the number of brands issuing e-gifts increases, the number of users increases, and vice versa, and as the number of users increases, the number of brands issuing e-gifts increases.

The challenges are many, of course. For example, when a brand introduces an e-gift, it "erases" the e-gift as already used so that it cannot be reused in the actual store. In this case, it is necessary to link the store's POS with our system.Another challenge is the size of the initial cost to properly develop the infrastructure.It is.To solve this problem, we offer a solution called "erase" by electronic stamps so that e-gifts can be introduced without POS modification and at low cost.I also do this.

The average unit price of e-gifts is in the relatively casual range of 600 to 1,000 yen, but before e-gifts were introduced, the unit price of gifts was high because they were given in relatively formal occasions. It is relatively easy to replace a gift that was given in a formal setting by converting it to an electronic gift, but to offer a casual gift for a few hundred yen, it is difficult to propose a scene and then ask, "Would you like to give it? However, to "give a casual gift of a few hundred yen" requires a proposal of the scene and a certain amount of time to spread. In this sense, "giving an e-gift" is a relatively easy way of making a gift.There is still much work to be done with regard to fostering new habits and culture.I feel that this is a good thing.

What led to the start of the companyindicates word or phrase being defined

It has been 10 years since your company was founded.

Suzuki:Co-president Mr. Ota said that when he was in college, it was customary for everyone to buy a cake for a friend's birthday and celebrate it together on campus, but once he entered the workforce, they became busy and it became difficult to meet and celebrate on their own schedules.

When a friend's birthday is displayed on a social networking site, it would be tasteless to just send a "Happy Birthday" message,The idea to start a business came from the thought, "It would be nice if I could send a cup of coffee to a friend along with a message.This led to the

Later, when I took a class at a school to prepare for starting a business, the assignment I presented was exactly the prototype for "giftee," an e-gift sales service for C to C. It was to "send a cup of coffee to a friend via Twitter or Facebook.

Later, in order to start a business using the idea, I was invited to participate as a first-term student in an acceleration program called Open Network Labs, which was organized by Digital Garage.

A Wall of Scale Stands in the Way of Gifty

What were some of the barriers that stood in the way of your scale? And how did you overcome the barriers?

Suzuki:We started with a C-to-C service that sold e-gifts to individuals, because it is quite difficult to give a friend something they have never used before,One of the first things to do is to create a situation where people can experience e-gifting and then think, "I want to give this to someone else! One of the first things to do is to create a situation in which people canThe following is a list of the most common problems with the

Then, as I explained earlier, there was no culture of casual, pricey gift giving, rather than a simple replacement of the gift form from real to digital.Lack of awareness of e-gifts means that even if you spend a certain amount of initial cost to have a brand issue an e-gift, you will not immediately generate sales.It is.

With low awareness of the service and high initial costs, it is difficult to find large companies willing to issue e-gifts, so we have to start with small restaurants such as cafes in town,Since the recipient of an e-gift needs to pick it up at a store, if the number of stores is small, the recipient of the e-gift cannot go to the store, and the giver also needs to go out of his/her way to check whether there is a brand store in the recipient's area.This was the second challenge.

What are the measures to be taken to get Starbucks Coffee to introduce

Regarding how we overcame these two challenges, first, we needed to be introduced to a major company that would be a pioneer in e-gift issuance, so we did not offer e-gifts as a gift service,Propose the concept of using it as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) toolI did.

Unlike coupons that are just for show, e-gifts allow you to capture all the data about who you gave it to and when it was used in which stores, so thatCan be a necessary tool for companies that focus on marketing using customer dataThe first is that it is a very good idea to use the same type of equipment as the second.

Starbucks Coffee, the first company to implement the eGift System, has always focused on marketing,The proposal to use eGift as a CRM matched the needs of the client, leading to the introduction of the "eGift System".Starbucks Coffee is pleased to announce that it has issued the eGift. Starbucks Coffee's issuance of e-Gifts has increased opportunities for Starbucks Coffee customers and fans of the brand to purchase e-Gifts. It also provided an opportunity for e-gift recipients to visit actual stores and experience the e-gift, and many people were able to learn about how to redeem their e-gifts and how they can redeem them for products by showing the barcode.With the introduction of Starbucks Coffee, awareness of e-gifting has also increased dramaticallyThe number of brands that want to issue e-gifts will also increase. This has increased the number of brands that want to issue e-gifts,A major turning point in solving the challenge of developing a brand with stores nationwide.The company is now in the process of

On the other hand, in order for you to give an e-gift, you must firstIssues such as how to create opportunities for more people to experience e-gifting.Ha,Sales of e-gifts to corporations triggered and resolvedI did.

We started selling e-gifts to corporations in 2016. Traditionally, when a corporation runs a campaign for its customers, it distributes physical gift certificates and other items by mail as an incentive. In the past, when corporations ran promotions for their customers, they would distribute physical gift certificates and other items by mail as incentives.Replacing incentives with e-gifts eliminates the need to carry inventory and reduces delivery costsAlso,The fact that it can be delivered instantly without knowing the recipient's address has been well received.and many companies have introduced the system. Companies distribute incentives in their campaigns to individuals. Therefore,Opportunities are created for individuals who receive e-gifts from companies to experience e-gifting across the country.I was very pleased with the results.It was a breakthrough for me to overcome the barrier of "never seen or used it before."I think.

Did Mr. Suzuki and Mr. Ota come up with the idea to introduce e-gifting as a CRM first, or to break through the barrier of raising awareness of "never seen or heard of" e-gifting among a large fan base such as Starbucks Coffee?

Suzuki:Of course, Ota and I came up with the idea on our own, but as we talked with the clients, we also asked them what kind of value the solution we had developed would bring to them, and we asked them if we could use the solution in this way. We gradually adapted our services to the market by repeatedly and sincerely addressing the points and issues that our clients perceived as valuable, without getting too caught up in our own hypotheses.

Tips on Fundraising and Collaboration

What kind of cooperation have you had with accelerator programs, capital and business alliances with companies, etc.?

Suzuki:As I mentioned earlier, after participating in the first "Open Network Lab," we also participated in the "Mugen Lab" hosted by KDDI and were accepted as a first-term student. Although we did not win the top prize at that time, our business model was highly regarded as the runner-up, and we received a proposal for collaboration, including investment, and the conversation proceeded very quickly.

This is Gifty's funding source to date, but rather than a financial VC,Since we have been looking for partners with an eye on synergies in the business arena, many of our procurements have come from operating companies or funds formed by operating companies.Yes. CVC of Mitsukoshi and Isetan, JCB, Marui, etc. Mitsukoshi and Isetan are department stores, so they focus on gifts very much. Mitsukoshi and Isetan are department stores, so they put a lot of effort into gifts, and they also have a large circulation of paper vouchers called "Zenkoku Hyakkaten-kougou Shoken" (gift certificates for all department stores), JCB has the largest circulation of JCB gift cards in Japan, and Marui is also very focused on casual gifts, so they have a large circulation of these kinds of gift certificates. Marui is also very active in the casual gift business.We have been able to expand our market through collaboration with business companies that have business synergies with us.I believe that this has been a major drive to support our growth.

I get the impression from what you say that you have been able to raise funds smoothly.

Suzuki:It's not so much that we did well, but more that we were "lucky and fortunate",There have been many cases in which we have gained the trust of our business partners through business alliances and collaborations, and we have been asked to invest in their businesses.The following is a list of the most common problems with the

The rest is "to provide services that foster a variety of connections between people, businesses, and cities, with e-gifts as the core.In this case, the company has invested in the company because it agrees with the vision, and even if there are no synergies in the short term, the two companies share the same long-term goals, so they are willing to collaborate from a long-term perspective.There are also several

I think the corporate culture is completely different between startups and large companies. Can you give us some tips on how to work through this?

Suzuki:I think it is important to go out for a drink together, talk frankly, and build a relationship of mutual trust. This may seem a bit old-fashioned, but we come from different backgrounds, and our industries and corporate climates differ,A prerequisite for building a good relationship is to have a frank discussion from the perspectives of the past, present and future.I'm not sure if this is the case.

We also feel that when the person in charge of the Open Innovation Program has strong personal connections within the company or is a person of high credibility, the collaboration is more likely to succeed. When it took a certain amount of time for the investment or collaboration to take effect, we once had a person in charge personally connect a startup with a business unit that seemed likely to generate synergies, and as a result, the speed of business progress increased dramatically. The probability of a startup and a business company collaborating on a full-fledged business after a PoC is not that high, so in order to realize collaboration with a sense of speed, I believe that it is not only logic, but also something beyond logic, including the relationship between people, luck, fate, and intuition.

In 2020, Gifty will invest in several startups as an investor, including business partnerships.We have done and will continue to do so in order to expand our e-gift platform business,We intend to implement capital and business alliances as appropriate.We are looking forward to working together smoothly with the investee to drive the business of the two companies. We would like to drive the business of both companies through smooth collaboration with our investees while making use of the experience we have gained from the investments we have made so far.

Future Vision and Goals

I am sure that Corona will continue to grow, but what are your visions and goals for the future, while keeping in mind such changes of the times?


We are even more braced for the change in the listing market of our stock from TSE Mothers to TSE First Section on December 25, 2008.

It seems that every time we climb one mountain, we see the next higher one, and our management strategy is constantly being updated. I think it is better not to be limited in the means by which we give form to our feelings,We want to create a world where people can give all kinds of services offered in the world as gifts.I am thinking about it.

For example, there have been many people in our company who have asked, "Can a beef bowl be a gift?" For example, there have been many people in our company who have asked, "Can a beef bowl be a gift?The definition of what constitutes a gift is not determined by the business, but rather by the individual who gives the gift and the individual who receives the gift.It's only in the

In that sense,Continuing to increase the number of options is what we will continue to do.I believe, and it doesn't exist in the world today.We generate our own gift content.I would like to work on something like this.

We have also received requests from clients who want to not only connect with their customers through e-gifting, but also to provide a mechanism to increase customer loyalty even after they have used their e-gift,Launch of a new service called "giftee Loyalty Platform" in 2020We have already introduced the service to Thirty-One Ice Cream and Ministop. We will continue to provide solutions that increase the benefits to the players participating in the e-Gift platform.

In addition,The U.S. and South Korea have large markets for e-gifts, and there is room for other regions to develop their markets.We believe that this is a good idea. GIFTY is currently developing its business based in Malaysia, in addition to Japan, and is considering horizontal expansion of its e-gift platform business to other areas overseas that have potential.We would like to expand our area by working on "expanding the culture of e-gift giving" from a global perspective.I am wondering if this is a good idea.

Mr. Tatsuya Suzuki Representative Director, GIFTY Corporation

Born in 1985. Graduated from Hitotsubashi University, Faculty of Economics. 2008 Worked in new business support and venture support for large companies at Inspire Inc. 2011 Appointed as a director of wacul, a UX consulting company. 2012 Appointed as a director of Gifty (https://giftee.co.jp/). He will be appointed as Representative Director of Gifty Inc. on March 24, 2020.

name of companyGIFTY Corporation
establishment (of a business, etc.)August 10, 2010
capital stock1,536,199 thousand yen (as of December 31, 2019)
Representative DirectorMutsumi Ota / Tatsuya Suzuki
Business OverviewInternet Service Business
uniform resouce locatorhttps://giftee.co.jp/
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Mimiko Ishigami
After working for an advertising agency and an advertising production office, currently working as a freelance copywriter and writer. His work ranges from creating catchphrases, naming, press releases, etc. to writing for the web media. She is especially good at interviews with people that require smooth communication.
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