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Gifting Goes Mobile With Yiftee

Buying thoughtful gifts for that special occasion - a new date, a loved one's birthday, or a festive holiday - can be incredibly tedious and painful when one thinks of those long queues in retail malls. Wouldn't it be nice if one could simply send someone a gift at the press of a button?

Well, it turns out with mobile technology, you certainly can. One such solution is Yiftee (http://yiftee.com/), an iPhone application launched in December last year that allows users to buy another person a gift from over two million shops and restaurants throughout the United States. Developed by a Menlo Park, California-based startup of the same name, the Yiftee mobile or web app allows users to send a gift by choosing a friend (and their corresponding location), whereby a list of potential gifts from surrounding featured merchants will be provided for selection.

Upon purchase, gift recipients are notified instantly by email, text message or even a Facebook post about their gift and can pick it up using any smart phone or tablet. Unclaimed or unredeemed gifts can be donated to a pre-selected list of well-respected national charities; alternatively they can be credited back to the giver’s account after a period of four weeks. We like that one aspect of this service is that small local businesses benefit from being listed on such a free service, getting traffic that it normally may not get and thereby helping to strengthen local communities. "Yiftee is a win-win-win - for the gift giver who gets to quickly acknowledge a special moment, for the recipient who inevitably smiles at the thoughtfulness, and for the local merchant, who gains a happy customer who might not otherwise have come in the store," says Yiftee co-founder and CEO, Donna Novitsky. "We hope that others are as excited about this as we are and that we start a local gifting craze that helps local businesses thrive in an increasingly online and mobile economy."

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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