The holiday season is upon us, and with it, the question of gifting. And while it is a lovely gesture, it isn’t always the easiest process for the giver or for the recipient. Selecting a present can be tough to do, especially if you’re on a budget or aren’t all that sure what the person you’re shopping for has in mind. And when you’re on the receiving end, you often find yourself with a number of less-than-ideal items instead of one thing you really want or need. DivideAí will help to solve that problem.
Based on the crowdfunding concept, DivideAí allows users to get the gifts they really want. Customers create wish lists featuring one or more items and share that information with their families and friends, who can make payments towards the total value of a gift or gifts. Once the full price of an item has been reached, the recipient redeems it and receives it at home. If only a portion of the full amount is raised, the user has the option to pay off the remaining balance or use the funds for a different item.
Based in Brazil, the DivideAí platform has partnered with various local e-commerce leaders to expand its product catalog. It offers items from Magazine Luiza, Netshoes, Ricardo Eletro and more. Though DivideAí was initially thought up as a platform for gifting related to birthdays, weddings and other personal occasions, users have begun to utilize the site for philanthropic purposes as well.
DivideAí launched its Beta version in September. Thirty gift lists have been registered and completed to date, and 10 are currently underway. The team behind the startup is composed of five Brazilian professionals: Danilo Ferreira (IT Manager), Jefferson Campos (Business Manager), Silvio Vaz (Project Manager), Simone Dellefrate (Administrative and Financial Manager) and Rick Freitas (Designer and Marketing Manager). We got in touch with Freitas to learn more about the startup.
Emily Stewart: Though the platform was designed largely for personal use – birthday gift lists, wedding registries, etc. – it’s taken a turn towards philanthropy and donations to social causes. What is your take on this?
Rick Freitas: We did not anticipate such use of the platform, but we have been happy to meet the demand. The concept of crowdfunding is growing in the country, and it’s been well accepted by consumers. We haven’t had to make major adjustments to our platform because of our partnerships with big players in Brazilian e-commerce and suppliers in a wide range of products and segments.
ES: DivideAí brings crowdfunding and e-commerce together. Is this a natural connection? What challenges have you faced in combining the two?
RF: All funds transferred, over the internet or offline, are aimed at the purchase or consumption of a product or service. Consuming through e-commerce has grown substantially in Brazil, so we saw an opportunity to unite collective buying with this demand. The major challenges were setting out a business model, overcoming bureaucracy and managing logistics for the delivery of gifts.
ES: What have you had to focus on technologically in making sure this platform works?
RF: Our goal has always been to render user experience enjoyable and secure. Therefore, we have focused our efforts on providing a secure environment for the traffic of information and a digital interface that is quite simple and functional. We have taken special care with usability issues.
ES: What are your plans moving forward? Do you see this as a global or regional product, something that could go mobile as well?
RF: We plan to officially launch the platform in early 2013 on the national stage. Our next challenge is getting funding from angel investors or VCs. With new resources, we’ll be able to create new business and establish partnerships, enhance the features and functionality of the platform and gain scale, perhaps global. We definitely have plans to adapt the platform for use in smartphones and tablets.