Prsnt is aiming for a viral effect. Recipients of gifts have to install the app on their phones in order to access their presents, so they become potential users too, and are then incentivized to make gifts of their own through free offers and promotions. The company earns its money through commissions from its partner brands when people spend with them, as well as a 69p transaction charge on each gift sent. Moallemi points out that the fee is less than the cost of a first-class stamp, let alone a birthday card.
Initially funded through friends and family, Prsnt raised £300,000 of pre-seed funding from venture capital firms and angel investors earlier this year. Now it is back in the market for capital, with a £3m investment round targeting similar sorts of backers. The money will support the business as it replaces the beta version of its app with an updated version later this month – and begins marketing its services in earnest.
“What we’re trying to achieve is a modern way of gifting, removing all the bottlenecks in terms of hassle, whilst also addressing sustainability,” says Moallemi. “Prsnt achieves same-second delivery, so it’s perfect for when you realise that it’s a friend’s or a family member’s birthday, or you don’t want the delay of sending something in the post.”
The company believes it is in a position to grow quickly, with new client segments accelerating its progress. In some cases, its brand partners have begun using Prsnt internally, as an easy means with which to send rewards and thank-yous to staff who have performed well. The company is also working with high-street retailers who see the opportunity to use the app to encourage increased physical footfall – through targeted offers of vouchers to spend in-store, for example.
In the meantime, Moallemi is also focused on how Prsnt can help people take the hassle out of giving. For example, the app will tell you when a friend or family member’s birthday is coming up, so that you don’t forget it, and in time it will offer present ideas. “The eventual goal is for Prsnt is to offer a personalised set of gift options for each friend,” Moallemi explains. “The idea is to take that pressure off both parties, to give in a smarter way, and to use technology to bridge the gap to remove that stress.”