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Exclusive: A peek at ex-Yola chief’s new startup, Gyft

When well-known serial web entrepreneur, Vinny Lingham, recently resigned as CEO of his successful website builder and hosting service, Yola, he announced that he would be heading up a new venture called Gyft.

At the time of the announcement all we knew about Gyft was what everyone else knew, simply that Gyft promised “to change the way you think about gift cards”. Today we know a little more thanks to a sneak preview given exclusively to Memeburn.

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Gift cards are estimated to be a US$100 billion annual market in the USA alone. The trouble is, 20% to 30% of gift cards end up never being used. Why? People tend to forget that they have, forget to carry or just never get around to spending gift cards. It’s also a hassle to give them away to someone else.

Lingham thinks the solution is Gyft.

Gyft is a new mobile gift card app that allows users to store, buy, send and redeem gift cards conveniently from a smartphone or mobile device.

Like the Swedish social gifting company Wrapp, Gyft is optimising its viral loop by incorporating Facebook as social platform for card distribution and gifting. Quite unlike Wrapp and its clone, DropGifts, Gyft focuses on digitised and digitising, physical gift cards. The iOS app also has location aware functionality and produces mobile notifications for expiring gift cards to alert and remind you of spending opportunities.

Lingham sees Gyft’s main competitors as JunoWallet and Tango Card. The focus will be on pushing digital gift cards from SMBs and large retailers.

You won’t have to wait much longer to get a good look at Gyft, the app is currently in beta and is scheduled to launch in May 2012.

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