Giftango already has done a lot of the heavy lifting for developers who might be interested in tying their mobile apps into virtual gift cards from national brands. Starting today, the company is offering a mobile developer’s toolkit for developers who want to do just that.
Giftango CEO David Nelsen explains that a lot of entrepreneurs and developers would like to send e-gift cards and issue them through their applications, but the problem is merchants are then bombarded with ideas and it’s difficult for them to decide which ones have merit. Enter Giftango, which acts as a facilitator to bring mobile developers on board for the brands and make sure the brands are represented appropriately.
As Nelsen explains it, Giftango acts as the “plumbing” between developers and brands. In July, the Portland, Ore.-based company announced that it had signed 35 national merchant brands to its platform, spanning such categories as retail, travel, hospitality, cosmetics and consumer electronics – and companies like Nike, Cabela’s, JC Penney, Lowe’s and REI.
Giftango also has worked with card processors and banks on the stored value piece of the equation. The company is integrated with nine gift card processors and has patent-pending technology focused on security, deliverability and management of stored value solutions.
Wildcard Network is one example of an application provider that is using Giftango on the iPhone. The Wildcard application allows consumers to buy gift cards from a variety of national merchants and then use those eCards from Wildcard’s application.
Of course, a lot of the stored value on physical gift cards never gets used, a term referred to as “breakage” in the industry. Nelsen says it’s a little too early to know how breakage works out in the virtual card space, but one of the benefits of eCards is they don’t contribute to the plastic in landfills.
Broadly speaking, Giftango competes with companies like ArrowEye and CashStar but so far, it doesn’t see competition from them in the mobile arena. Giftango says its SDK is the first release of its kind for the mobile community.
The company was founded in 2005 – well before the smartphone craze led to the applications frenzy, but Nelsen says it was an easy transition to the smartphone, including adding layers of security and making sure the correct recipient gets the virtual gift card.