Startup Feature: Gifty

Gifty is a participating startup in Batch #1 of The Accelerator, evoking emotion through quick gifting experiences.

An interview with Irfaan Premji Founder of Gifty

When you are pitching your idea to an investor, they want to know that you are solving a real problem. But what if your company is solving a problem that people didn’t even know they had? That is what people are saying about Calgary tech startup, Gifty.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up launching Gifty.

Although my background is in law, I have always enjoyed building things and I am naturally drawn to technology. Gifty was something that came out of an experiment with links as representations of things rather than as pointers to information.

As a shortcut to prototype the idea, I built a simple chatbot to help generate some value and deliver you a link that you can pass to a friend, which your friend uses to extract that value. I showed it to a friend who is particularly discerning when it comes to consumer software products and he loved it, so I pitched my friends at Sal’s Flatbread and Monogram Coffee and they were both excited to jump on and try it!

What problem are you trying to solve?

Monogram Coffee and Gifty doing a live demo at Startup Calgary Launch Party

Monogram Coffee and Gifty doing a live demo at Startup Calgary Launch Party

The guys at The Beltliner gave me a lot of support as we were trying to figure out what this really was, and while demoing to a customer, he turned to me in excitement and said, “This solves a problem that I didn’t even know I had.” I think he was identifying was that he finds himself with a desire to give, or be kind, or re-engage people without a quick, personal, impactful way to act on that fleeting feeling.

The cost and time sink involved with traditional gift giving is usually high. Once you consider all the logistics around simple gift giving, you forget about why you wanted to do it in the first place.

On the vendor side, how do you position yourself as a destination when people want to show their appreciation? 

Please explain how you solve that problem?

Gifty is simple, quick and accessible. The Gifty service runs entirely over text-message and there’s no app to download. You text ‘Hi’ to Gifty, select and pay for something, and then receive a link that you copy/paste to your friend. That’s it.

When you want to show your appreciation, you send a text to Gifty to send something personal, hand-selected and sent directly from you.

Using Gifty, vendors are able to leverage their loyal customer base - the people who are already talking about them - to acquire new customers for them with every gift they send. Once those customers are in the door, it is up to merchant to turn them into lifetime customer.

How has your experience been at The Accelerator?

We recently hit “pause” to make sure we were on the right track and answer the question “now what?” The mentorship we have received at The Accelerator has been incredibly valuable. These are people who have been there, and faced and overcome the challenges that you are facing right now.

Every mentor has welcomed me with open arms and has taken the time to chat with me. Even a few minutes with some of these people is invaluable.

What is next for Gifty?

We recognize that Gifty has the potential to become a powerful relationship tool to help people reconnect. We just launched thank you links so that, when the recipient redeems their gift in-store, they are sent a link that brings them back to the text message conversation with the person who sent the gift!

In December, we let anyone in Calgary send Santa Clause to a friend or business using Gifty and raised $600 for the Alberta Children's Hospital in the span of a few hours. 

Gifty in the News

Give the Gifty of Santa to all of your friends December 23
Top 10 Calgary startup chosen through Pitch Night

Learn more about Gifty at


Want to support Gifty and other local tech startups?

Celebrate the first 10 startups to complete our 5-month program at The Accelerator at Demo Day on Tuesday, March 14 from 7:00-9:30pm at Studio Bell in Calgary, AB.