Gift cards are often a nice choice when you want to give a gift, but do not know exactly what the recipient may enjoy. It can be a bit of a guessing game, however, and you may wind up in a situation in which you have unwanted gift cards, store vouchers, or store credit and they are left to go to waste. Israeli startup Zeek tackles the issue with a marketplace that allows users to profit off of unwanted gift cards (or vouchers or store credit) by passing them on to others.
The platform functions by allowing people to upload vouchers by photographing them and entering a few details, set an asking price, and mail it to Zeek after it has been sold (physical vouchers, only. Online vouchers can be immediately transferred). On the buyer side, users can search and find vouchers and gift cards for less than face value. Zeek has opted for commission model, taking a 3 (British) pound fee on each transaction that they process.
Ideas for startups arrive in a variety of ways and, in this case, the inspiration was a wedding. One of the founders got married and received an expensive gift as a present. He did not particularly want it, however, so he exchanged it at the store for a voucher, which he then put into his wallet and forgot. He became upset after realizing that this was basically money down the drain, but did a bit of research and found that he is hardly the first person to have this issue, as approximately 30% of vouchers go unredeemed annually. So, he teamed up with others to create a marketplace that would enable people to unload unwanted gift cards, store credit, and the like.
Although the service launched just last year, it has proven to be wildly popular, currently claiming 100,000 users. Zeek started in Israel, but branched out to the British market in December 2014. Backed by $3 million in new funding from Blumberg Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, and Waze co-founder Uri Levine, they are now planning to enter markets across Europe within the next year.