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Social gifting is an increasingly popular trend, with services such as Wrapp and Dropgifts offering a Facebook-connected way for people to send each other gift cards.
However, those gift cards tend to be for a specific retailer or group of stores. Now a Munich-based startup called BonaYou is taking a less constricted approach, and it’s just closed a first round of financing to help it spread across Europe.
Like the other services, BonaYou also plugs into Facebook so the user can select who will receive the gift, but the gift comes in the form of a real or virtual pre-paid Mastercard, rather than a store card. Real cards, which can be redeemed in physical and online stores across Europe, get mailed out in a customizable box, while virtual cards get emailed in PDF form and can only be redeemed with online stores.
Funding came on Monday in the form of €500,000 ($650,000) from HTGF and an undisclosed amount from the Make a Startup Angel Fund. HTGF (High-Tech Gründerfonds) is a very active venture fund for German companies, backed up by the government as well as big national stalwarts like BASF, Deutsche Telekom and Carl Zeiss.
The cash should help with BonaYou’s expansion plans –- right now, the company is only operational in Germany and Austria.
“We are already starting the translation of the website and want to start in the UK, France, Spain and Italy this year,” co-founder Patrick Löffler told me. He said the company intended to expand across Europe, but has no plans to take it further just yet.
Löffler also indicated that BonaYou would soon be adding a collaborative element to its gift-giving service, allowing people to chip in on gifts. This kind of functionality is already available with some of the other social gifting firms, but then again those services are telling the recipient where they can and can’t spend their money.