20. March 2013–
Rocket Internet's social gifting company Dropgifts is moving away from its original consumer-facing premise and towards business clients and a new bid for the US.
When it emerged in late February 2012, Dropgifts – founded by Andreas Fruth, Uwe Gleitz, Adrian Renner and Gerhard Trautmann – seemed to be a not-too-subtle clone of Swedish startup Wrapp. That model allows people to send gift cards to their friends on Facebook — either for free, for advertising offers from particular brands, or paid.
Dropgifts is still running that service but is also branching out to a new business-to-business solution, allowing companies to use its "proprietary social sampling/gifting technology" on their Facebook fan pages, including as a white-label solution.
"We started out as an online and mobile B2C social gifting platform," the new "Dropgifts Solutions" website explains. "Listening to our partners, we soon realised that our technology had much more potential."
Trouble attracting users – or just a bigger game to play?
Does that mean the B2C platform hasn't attracted as many users as hoped? While it's a poor metric, the Dropgifts Facebook App shows up today in Facebook Search as having just "5,400+" monthly users. Wrapp, by comparison, shows up with "500,000+".
Social gifting isn't a two-horse race – especially with Facebook Gifts – but that could be a sign Dropgifts is having a hard time going head-to-head with Wrapp in the markets where the two overlap (the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany).
It could also simply reflect a decision to go after more lucrative business. Asked to explain the move away from B2C, a spokesperson for the company said only that:
DropGifts was initially a consumer-facing platform offering free gift cards from many different retailers in one spot. The business is now expanded in the US to a full B2B solution. DropGifts believes that the most valuable brand ambassador is brands' existing fan base. Our B2B solution allows brands to integrate a fully-branded solution in their very own social media channels."
And why the decision to tackle the US first?
We are able to handle global campaigns from the US, but at the moment we are just working in the US, focusing on the new solution."
The spokesperson added that social media usage is "advanced" in the US and "leading brands" have shown positive interest in the new solution. Clients listed on the Dropgifts Solutions website so far include Netflix and Butlers Chocolates.
Dropgifts, based in Berlin and New York, is backed by a "seven figure-euro" sum of funding from Deutsche Telekom's T-Venture (July 2012) on top of previous investment from eVenture Capital Partners and New Enterprise Associates.
It's not the only social gifting player to recently expand from B2C to B2B: Chicago-based, Lightbank-backed Boomerang said in January its B2B services will now account for 50 per cent of its investment and activity going forward.
Image credit: flickr user JP Hancock