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Sincerely: Facebook Gifts won't crush our mobile gift business

November 14, 2012|By Jessica Guynn
  • San Francisco start-up Sincerely is launching a new gift-giving service called Sesame.
San Francisco start-up Sincerely is launching a new gift-giving service… (Sincerely Inc. )

Facebook Inc. is on the verge of a Goliath rollout of its new Gifts program.

But one David isn't quivering in his Santa boots.

Matt Brezina, chief executive of Sincerely Inc., said Wednesday that in the next few weeks his company is going to dive deeper into the mobile gifting business.

Sincerely doesn't have the global reach of Facebook. But Brezina said there's room enough in the gift business for more than one player, even if the dominant player has more than 1 billion users.

Sincerely started with the simplest gift anyone can send: a postcard or a greeting card. Now under the brand Sesame, it's planning to roll out more expensive gifts. Brezina won't reveal much more than that.

But he said Sincerely has signed up 1.2 million members who have sent personalized postcards and greeting cards to 800,000 addresses through its brands Postagram and Ink, already entrusting the company with its most personal relationships. Sincerely is also participating in a pilot program with Facebook to send postcards to Facebook friends.

Facebook bought a promising young startup called Karma Science in May. In September it launched Facebook Gifts, a service that lets users buy and send real gifts to friends. It marked Facebook's first foray into the competitive e-commerce space dominated by giants such as Amazon.com Inc. and EBay Inc. The move sent chills through start-ups in the social gift-giving space that now fear they will get crushed. Facebook is holding a news conference Thursday for its Gift service in New York.

But Brezina said his 2-year-old company can compete with Facebook.

"I truly don't think anything could be better for us. Facebook Gifts creates so much awareness of sending gifts to your friends through your mobile phone," Brezina said.

In fact, he said, "I think we can do better than them long term." Then he laughed. "But I am a crazy entrepreneur."

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Follow me on Twitter @jguynn

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