Real World Partners with Virtual

We took a briefing by Dave Sanguinetti, CEO of RealGifts, one of the 20 technology start-ups invited to present at Pepsico10. This start-up recognition early in their lifecycle by delivering real world version of Facebook virtual wall gifts. Their solution created quite a buzz at Facebook’s F8 conference and later when they entered and won the second-round FB-Fund award. This exposure paved the path to what was their most prized reward: a relationship with Facebook powering their gift area.

There are many changes in the Facebook strategy and socialgraph populating activites, and there an equal volume of broken links to the storefront and other pages on Facebook related to RealGifts. Hard to say what the future holds for them. Their challenge, it seems, is to continue to grow their value outside of Facebook while hoping to continue leveraging their strategic relationships at the SocialNet to grow and provide proof of  adoption.

Our interview follows:

Barriers to entry? Real-Gifts has a network of developers, partners and complexity of building out the equivalent of a mini-amazon ecommerce site. They solved some of the problems around not having a physical address by offering a proxy system that allows the recipient to direct the gift to the address of their choosing without revealing it to a broader socialgraph.

How do brands get involved? (4:30) Mrs. Fields Cookies, FTD, Fandango, etc.—found people really like the real world versions of gifts.

Pepsico10 impressions? (6:45) Comparable with Facebook FB Fund Competition. Unique for a big brand like Pepsi to engage start-ups in this way. Sense of excitement and camaraderie with participating start-ups as well.

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