Ukrainian startup helps fundraising for gifts

Celebrating colleagues’ birthdays are happy events and part of many corporate cultures. Collecting money for presents, however, can be burdensome.

Online service Wishround promises an easy solution.

“When we worked at a large IT company in Ukraine, we had the same issue as most companies with over 400 employees usually have,” says Yuriy Shevchenko, the co-founder at Wishround startup. “Every time someone’s birthday was coming up, it was a really long process of deciding what to buy and how much each one has to participate financially in the present.”

So Shevchenko and his friend created an online tool for collecting money.

“We asked our colleague whether he would add his own money to buy the present if the fundraising campaign couldn’t collect the full amount needed to buy what he wants. He agreed. That’s how the service development started a year and a half ago,” Shevchenko says.

Now one can visit the Wishround website, register and fill in the information about the present he wants to get in a partner Internet stores. After the person shares the link with his wish on social networks, people can start donating money five days prior to the person’s birthday.

If a person chooses a gift from one of the partner stores of Wishround, he can pay by clicking on a button “pay with Wishround.” If there’s a shortfall, the person can add more money. Recipients can do what they want with extra money donated.

Around 1,000 wishes have been posted on the service, ranging in price from $150 to $200.,,,,, are among over 20 Internet stores that are Wishround’s partners. The service charges partners up to 15 percent from the price of the good sold through Wishround.

It took more than $20,000 of the investors’ own money and a $200,000 investment from BeValue’s venture fund to get the product to the current stage.“The guys from the fund understood that this service is not just a way to fundraise money but also an e-commerce tool for making payments in the internet stores,” says Shevchenko.

The team started with two people and now there are eight people, including two Polish citizens working on business development. The team plans to launch the service in Germany.

“The service is very viral. From the very beginning we spent zero on marketing, because people share their wishes on social networks and this way they tell about us themselves,” Shevchenko says.

Julia Olkhovska was one of the first testers of the service. She posted her wish for a cell phone and by Sept.2, her birthday, it was overfunded. So she spent the amount that was left on a donation to her friend’s wish on Wishround.

“The amount I collected was almost Hr 1,000 more than what was needed on the phone I chose as my gift. So I simply transferred the amount on my friend’s wish on Wishround too,” Olkhovska says. “I haven’t heard about such services in Ukraine, and since I personally know how hard collecting money on birthdays is, I would really want such service to exist and grow.”

This story first appeared in the Kyiv Post.

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Topics: Internet, News, Social networks, Startups
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