Mobile gift card provider Gyft, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham, recently announced its acquisition by First Data, a payment technology solutions provider. Based in San Francisco, Gyft has been boosted by recent funding and new merchant onboarding, with the expectation that First Data’s network will help it scale far beyond the 200 merchants it currently serves. As Vinny’s third company, this announcement demonstrates the success of Endeavor Entrepreneurs who launch multiple ventures and inspire future generations.
Founded in 2012, Gyft offers consumers a platform to purchase, gift, and redeem gift cards via their mobile devices. Traditional plastic prepaid cards lacked efficiency and face the risk of getting lost. Gyft makes redeeming these cards easier with reminder alerts and a mobile gift card “wallet,” making it cost-efficient for small and medium-sized enterprises to break into the prepaid card market. Widespread adoption of digital wallets has made Gyft an attractive option for many e-commerce giants, including Amazon.
This acquisition reportedly grew out of a partnership between Gyft and Clover, the mobile payments and point-of-sale startup that First Data acquired in 2012 for an estimated $54 million. Considered one the world’s largest card processors, First Data handles over $1 trillion annually across more than 6 million merchants. After a leveraged buyout in 2007 and reported losses following the recent recession, First Data has actively sought to modernize its payment services by acquiring technology companies. The recent Gyft news is part of a broader strategic plan for First Data, which has included acquiring Clover and cardless customer loyalty startup Perka.
Coming off a $6 million round of Series A funding, Gyft’s decision to join the First Data family stems from the company’s mission to become a leader in the digital payments industry. First Data’s backing will allow Gyft the necessary network to onboard more strategic merchants while providing First Data with access to key technologies and brand recognition.
“We started the company with a mission to digitize and transform the plastic gift card space,” said Vinny in a statement. “We don’t see this as an exit. We see this as a continuation of what we’re already doing but with a lot more resources.”
Vinny has been an Endeavor Entrepreneur since 2006 and Gyft is the third venture he has founded. Endeavor has connected him with expert mentors and introduced him to investors through the Endeavor Investor Network, allowing him to become an active role model for entrepreneurs in South Africa, Silicon Valley, and beyond.
Read more about the acquisition in Vinny’s exclusive interview with PandoDaily.