Sara Rodell had her “a-ha” moment during gift-giving season while working in equity sales. Her former employer would spend a considerable amount of money each year on gifts meant to show appreciation and build relationships. “But [they] didn’t necessarily do that,” she said. “I saw a disconnect.”
That’s why Rodell launched the gift management platform Loop and Tie in 2013—to make gift-giving as easy and valuable for the giver as it is for the receiver.
The winner of the kickoff challenge in Austin for the third annual Visa Everywhere Initiative—a competition that uncovers and empowers creativity and talent in the startup community—wants to banish generic gift baskets and elevate corporate gifting into a meaningful touch point in a business relationship.
Instead of sending typical corporate swag that might get tossed aside, Rodell’s gifting model means that businesses can send gifts tailored to personal preferences and develop business-client rapport. Clients of a recent Loop and Tie customer, for example, redeemed their vouchers for yoga mats. “Using this element of choice, the bank was able to share things that were a little bit more niche,” said Rodell. “The clients could pick out something that was relevant and of interest to their lives.”
Now in its fourth year, the startup will demonstrate its platform at a Future of Retail installation at the 2017 Wired Business Conference, presented by Visa, in New York City.
At the conference, which takes place June 7, Visa will showcase a wearable "imprint" demo—an NFC-based adhesive sticker that is discreetly applied to the body. Like a physical representation of Loop and Tie’s digital experience, the Visa showcase will enable visitors to scan their wearables to unlock curated gift options.
Beyond the Wired Business Conference installation, Rodell said Loop and Tie plans to integrate with the Visa Offers Platform and leverage the company’s many brand partners to create a Loop and Tie-related rewards experience for cardholders.
The gifting guru also said she’s looking to enable Visa Checkout as a seamless payment option for her gift givers and use Visa Direct as a means of paying suppliers.
“As an entrepreneur, you believe so much in a vision that it’s hard to believe anyone else wouldn’t share your passion,” she said. “The opportunity to be associated with Visa is powerful for a startup, from both a validation and reach standpoint.”