US based payment technology and services solutions firm First Data, has acquired Gyft Inc., a gift card startup founded by South African entrepreneur Vinny Lingham for around $50 million according to reports.
The move aims at enabling consumers to buy, send, manage and redeem gift cards using mobile devices. Gyft is a mobile wallet accessible by website and as a free app on iPhone and Android devices and says it has over 200 recognized retailers and brings its power to First Data’s 300 plus national retail prepaid clients.
“Gyft, with its mobile gifting platform, and First Data, with its global scale and distribution network, together will accelerate the growth of virtual prepaid with powerful new tools for merchants of all sizes to deepen their relationships with their customers,” said Guy Chiarello, president, First Data. “This means that the same robust toolset deployed by big box retailers will be coming soon to small- to mid-sized businesses, perfectly synched with our mission to offer innovative solutions to help our clients grow.”
In addition, to bring these new tools to small business owners who have adopted First Data’s Clover™ Station, an elegant touchscreen point-of-sale solution, Gyft for SMBs will be added to the Clover App Marketplace.
Virtual and mobile cards are gaining share rapidly in the near $100 billion U.S. gift card market. Retailers reported that, on average, loads onto digital cards tripled from 2012 to 2013, according to Mercator Advisory Group’s annual survey of retailers. First Data’s research shows that electronic gift card sales grew 71 percent from 2012 to 2013. “Retailers need to begin tapping into digital distribution channels to be responsive to early-adopter customers and stay competitive for the long term,” said Ben Jackson, Director of Mercator’s prepaid advisory service.
“We are joining First Data to accelerate our growth and significantly improve the gift card experience for both customers and retailers,” said Vinny Lingham, co-founder and chief executive officer, Gyft. “As a part of First Data’s suite of innovation-powered products, Gyft will be added to a portfolio of technology-driven gift solutions that link advanced consumer-engagement technology with point-of-sale business solutions.”