Wantful failure


Online gift-giving service


Wantful was an e-Commerce platform founded in 2011 with a base in San Francisco and New York City. The company targeted individuals looking to buy gifts for friends, family or acquaintances. Its objective was to help users by offering them personalized gift recommendations based on a set of input entered. The user needed to provide the site with information such as the gender, tastes and preferences of the person they were willing to donate the gift to and the platform would search through its inventory to bring a series of suggested items to the users. Wantful later expanded to allow users to find items for themselves as well and it even launched a series of popular products to complement their business.


United States
In 2011
By 2013
Number of Founders
Name of Founders
John Poisson
Number of Employees
More Than 10000
Number of Funding Rounds
Total Funding Amount
Number of Investors
Precise Cause of Failure
Business Outcome
Shut Down

Cause of Failure

After experiencing a brief phase of exponential growth, Wantful shutdown in September 2013 due to stiff competition from other companies offering e-commerce services. While at the beginning they offered a fairly new type of platform by focusing on the customization and suggestion of gift ideas, when they tried to shift to a normal e-shop business in which users bought items for themselves they had to compete with established platforms such as Wanelo, Wish, Fancy, Svpply’s Want, Polyvore, and more.

In the later stages of the e-commerce business, it became evident that Wantful was not getting the kind of growth curves that venture capitals expected and desired and as a result failed to secure additional investment. This highly discouraged business with Nordstrom, a potential investor and strategic partner that Wantful heavily depended on for their long-term investment. The company closed in 2013.

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