Canadian Startup Creates a New Kiind of Giving

by Mike DeWolfe | Startups

Victoria startup Kiind is working to strike it big through giving.

How does it work? A Kiind subscriber outputs a client list from their CRM, puts that into Kiind and sends a reward to all of their contacts via email. The Kiind gift recipient shows the code to cash it in and then activates the code from a webpage to redeem it.

When a gift is redeemed, Kiind gift givers can see when and where it was redeemed. Unused gifts carry expiry dates. Expired, unused codes can be re-gifted to others.

Kiind streamlines gift delivery and increases insights into redemption trends. A Kiind user will know as soon as a gift has been redeemed, and they will be able to see which gifts convert into an interaction and which gifts go unused.

The intended markets of Kiind are professionals and businesses who wish buy and send gifts to clients, partners, and employees. Kiind is trying to humanize this technological experience of sending digital gifts.

Kiind works to “deepen the relationship with high touch, high value clients through high tech,” as CEO Leif Baradoy puts it. They are aiming at businesses with a local focus; ones that thrive on personal interaction, referrals and keeping themselves forefront in people’s thoughts.

In Victoria, they have a number of clients that include the restaurants Bin4 and Zambris and the 2% Jazz Coffee shops. These are businesses that can benefit from having a promotional system like Kiind.

Digital goods providers like Groupon are not new, but they have had an impact on the marketplace. The daily deal sites have demonstrated that there was room for digital products—coupons, gifts and the like.

Baradoy’s time with better defined the benefits and deepening of interactions that could come from gifting and Kiind sprang from those influences. Baradoy got Kiind underway after moving from Calgary to Victoria.

Baradoy met Peter Locke at one of the Startup MeetUp gatherings. Baradoy with Locke and a team of local developers, marketers and business people set to developing the current Kiind product.

Kiind didn’t begin with the B2B tool they are now selling. Their idea began as a prototype of an iPhone app.

Their business gifting tools grew from these experiments into the consumer gifting space driven by the customer discovery process. That course change was fortuitous: they preemptively steered Kiind into a different lane than the digital gifting that Facebook is now entering into.

In speaking with Baradoy, it was intriguing to hear how he was able to put together a team. He didn’t have easy access to a lot of capital but he had a track record of endurance, the ability to present his vision and see it through.

Baradoy used founder vesting to structure the team involvement and the team’s stake in Kiind. He found the best success with people who came with a family history of entrepreneurship: people used to the roller coaster of startup life.

The company came together in the summer of 2011 and product development began in earnest in January of 2012. Even while their products were being developed, businesses committed to using Kiind.

The company is continuing to grow and build out their product. They are developing an API to integrate CRMs and gift code generation.

As Kiind is working to cultivate their clients and the Kiind brand, they review prospective clients searching for a quality that makes them a good fit with the business mix. Their inflow of new clients is heavy enough to keep Kiind busy, growing and juggling client expectations. Kiind is working locally in a number of markets.

They are looking to connect with businesses in Victoria, Calgary, and Vancouver before expanding to additional markets and making Kiind into a service with a national focus.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Located in Victoria, Canada, Kiind was founded in 2012 by Leif Baradoy and Peter Locke. While helping his brother move, Leif discovered a gift card he’d given his brother years ago that hadn’t been used. Kiind was created to fix the broken gift card industry. Backed by a team of experienced advisors and investors, Kiind has revolutionized the $120 billion North American gift card industry. The... more

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Mike DeWolfe

Mike DeWolfe

Mike DeWolfe has loved show and tell since kindergarten and was very excited when he discovered he could use the Internet to share cool stuff and show people what he did. He is a web developer and programmer who has shifted from doing web designs for local businesses to building products from his company, Those DeWolfes Creative. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia on the west coast of... more

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