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Giftbit co-founders Leif Baradoy and Peter Locke.
Giftbit co-founders Leif Baradoy and Peter Locke.

Founders’ Co-op, a Seattle-based early-stage venture fund, has invested in Giftbit, a company that specializes in digital gift card campaigns for enterprise clients.

Based in Victoria, BC, and co-founded by Leif Baradoy and Peter Locke, Giftbit allows clients to hang onto money from unredeemed cards so that they don’t lose that cash when they offer gift credits as part of promotional campaigns. The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Chris DeVore of Founder's Co-op
Chris DeVore of Founder’s Co-op

The startup only charges its clients if a gift card is actually used by a customer — data that Giftbit tracks, along with information about the digital delivery of gift credits to customers, and relays back to its enterprise clients to help them craft more effective rewards-based digital marketing campaigns, according to Baradoy, who is also the company’s CEO.

Baradoy came up with the idea when he was helping his brother move and unpacked a drawer full of unused gift cards, feeling that it was a waste.

Through Giftbit, companies can e-mail customers gift credits with set expiration dates and send follow up e-mails to remind customers to redeem those credits. If customers don’t respond, the company loses no money.

“Giftbit customers are able to track, audit, and manage their gift card offers and campaigns down to the recipient level,” Baradoy told GeekWire last fall.

The startup was introduced to Founders’ Co-op when Giftbit came to Seattle in the fall of 2015 to participate in Techstars Seattle, the startup incubator that helps 10 new entrepreneurs get off the ground each year — a program that DeVore manages.

“We knew we wanted to invest almost from the moment Giftbit arrived in (the) program, but we also knew they’d need a bigger raise than we had the capacity to lead,” said DeVore on his blog. “In addition to promoting our regional and cross-border startup ecosystem, another part of our mission is to develop entrepreneurial opportunities that attract capital from great investors outside the Pacific Northwest. Not only does this help us fund more strong companies here, it also introduces new investors to the Cascadia market and increases the overall availability of risk capital in our ecosystem.”

Giftbit logo as of Feb 2016So DeVore introduced Giftbit to Freestyle, a seed-stage investor from the Silicon Valley, who joined Founders’ Co-op in funding the startup.

Founders’ Co-op was started by longtime business partners Andy Sack and Chris DeVore, and were joined by partner Rudy Gadre, a former Facebook and Amazon.com executive, in 2013. The venture firm specializes in investments in the Pacific Northwest.

Last April, Founders’ Co-op raised a $20 million fund, which was the largest in its history. DeVore told GeekWire at the time that they would use the new fund to make 40 to 50 seed investments,

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