August 21, 2012
Today, DC-based gift app Treater announced their public launch and $2.5 million in seed funding.
Treater lets you treat your friends to a small gift, and send it to them immediately over Facebook or text message. Your options range from regular drinks, meals, and massages to oddities like a 9-pound hamburger, or a coffee with 16 shots, or a 40-scoop ice cream sundae.
The magic of this gift app is all in the details. As CEO Jeff Ross learned early on, a $5 gift card is not a treat; it doesn’t make people grin. But when you buy a specific gift – coffee for a friend who studies late at night, or salad for someone on a diet – it has more meaning. To add to the meaningfulness, givers can send a photo along with their gift, and recipients can send back a photo with their best thank-you smile.
On the flipside, merchants who work with Treater get to promote specific products, rather than a generic gift card. And compared to LivingSocial – which resorted to giving some merchants an iPad with their software on it – Treater piggybacks on existing types of payment: credit cards and gift cards. Your gift arrives as a virtual card, and the cashier just has to type in the number. That means no extra training, and no redemption codes (as in gifting service Conpoto).
The final touch is a piggy bank, where you change lives. If the price of your item is less than the treat value, you get to keep those extra cents. That can be used to buy treats for your friends, or just pamper yourself.
For Ross, it’s all about putting the connection back in social networking; “likes” alone do not a connection make.
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