It’s almost midnight and you wake up realizing that the nightmare you just had about forgetting your Mom’s birthday tomorrow wasn’t a dream at all, but stark reality. Mom lives half a continent away and gets tired of the flowers you send every year because they aggravate her hay fever, but you can’t help it because that’s the only gift you can order that will arrive in such short notice. She keeps telling you to please forget her birthday because she sneezes for a week afterwards.
But putting a little flooz in your life could make things a lot better for you and your Mom’s hay fever.
Flooz? According to Spencer Waxman, President and co-founder of Flooz.Com, the word flooz is Moroccan slang for “cash” something he thought would be a great name for his uber-gift certificate company that provides an automatic reminder service (no more forgetting) and also allows you instantly to send her their version of online cash she can spend like a gift certificate at participating e-tailers.
Or, if Mom thinks you’re a tightwad, she can pool your miserly flooz with that sent by your sneaky sister in Schenectady who’s buttering her up to get your part of the inheritance. (She’ll have to make up her mind pretty quickly since the flooz expires after a year something that allows the company to bank on forgetfulness.)
Founded by Waxman and his college buddy and iVillage (IVIL) co-founder Robert Levitan, Flooz.Com has raised $19.5 million to date: a $3 million angel round in March and a $16.5 million venture round in July from Oak Investment Partners, Maveron Equity Partners, Brentwood Venture Capital, and Venture Strategy Partners.
“They are more than just a gift certificate,” said Yankee Group analyst Rebecca Nidositko. “They’re promoting themselves as a form of online currency; I think they’re closer to a credit card than a gift certificate.” This, Nidositko said, gives them an advantage over online gift certificate companies such as giftcertificates.com and giftpoint.com, but puts them head-to-head with the exploding competition in the online currency and payment market.
The Boston Consulting Group estimates the online gift market at $1.4 billion.
Consumers pay no fees to send Flooz good for purchases at about 40 online e-tailers including FogDog Sports, Wholefoods.com, Tower Records, Eastern Mountain Sports and art.com. Merchants who accept Flooz pay a transaction fee ranging from 15 to 20% of the sale price.
With both the gifts and payment sectors heating up, Flooz.Com can expect even more competition in the coming months which means that the harder their job gets, the easier it will be to keep your Mom happy.
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