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Wantful

Online gift-giving service
Startup Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
e-Commerce
Country:
United States
Started:
2011
BUSINESS FAILURE
Outcome:
Shut Down
Cause:
Competition
Closed:
2013
FOUNDERS & EMPLOYEES
Number of Founders:
1
Name of Founders:
John Poisson
Number of Employees:
+10,000
FUNDING
Number of Funding Rounds:
1
Total Funding Amount:
$5.5M
Number of Investors:
8

What was Wantful?

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.

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Why did Wantful fail and shut down?

After experiencing a brief phase of exponential growth, Wantful shut down 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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