Andrew Bocking, who led the BlackBerry Messenger effort for BlackBerry before leaving that company in February, joined Facebook as product manager for its recently announced Internet.org application, Re/code reported.
Zambia may seem like an odd choice for the site of an application’s launch, but it makes perfect sense when the developer of that app has a mission statement of connecting the rest of the world. Internet.org – the global partnership formed last August by Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung to “connect the next 5 billion people” — announced the launch of its app, starting with Airtel subscribers in Zambia.
A series-B funding round totaling $15 million? That’s a Wrapp for the social gift card provider, which announced the closing of the funding round Thursday.
Wrapp, which allows Facebook users to send free and paid electronic gift cards to their friends, has said that three new retailers have joined the fold: Victoria’s Secret, American Apparel, and Little Black Bag. Using Facebook as a platform, Wrapp noted that 1.25 million users of its iOS and Android applications have given 11.5 million digital gift cards — seen by 122 million Facebook users.
Wrapp, a mobile social gifting application, connects Facebook users through gift cards. If a user wants to celebrate a Facebook friend’s new job, or thinks they could use something from a store, he or she can send a gift card through Wrapp. So far, it has become quite popular. Wrapp announced that since its launch a little over a year ago, users have redeemed more than 1 million gift cards.
As Facebook looks for ways to monetize its presence, the company rolled out Gifts earlier this year — a program that is now available to all U.S. users. But Facebook wasn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to test the social gift market. Several other companies — such as Plumfare, Boomerang, Treater, and GiftHit — use Facebook to deliver experiences that can’t be captured with gift cards.
It has been proven that a marketing message holds so much more weight when it comes from a friend rather than a brand. So how can brands get in on the friend-to-friend connection? Social gifting application Wrapp seems to have this solved. By utilizing sponsored (free) and paid gift cards, Wrapp has excelled at getting brands involved in conversations with friends. Wrapp CEO Hjalmar Winbladh, as well as Gap Sr. Director of Business Strategy Soundar Koneti, spoke at the AllFacebook Marketing Conference in New York about how the company has succeeded with friend-to-friend marketing.
Tis the season for giving, and Facebook is on board, announcing at its rescheduled event at iconic toy store FAO Schwarz in New York Thursday night that its Gifts feature is being rolled out to more users, and introducing several new retail partners.
Social gifting application Wrapp reached a multiyear agreement with prepaid and financial payment provider Blackhawk Network’s Blackhawk Digital platform, under which national and local retailers that offer electronic gift cards via Blackhawk will have access to Wrapp’s marketing platform, enabling Wrapp to add those retailers to its stable.