The brainchild of Mark Marovich and Patrick Cinco, The Responsible Gift aims to make gift giving better and more socially responsible. As young parents they would often go through frantic last minute searches (both online and offline) for the ‘perfect’ gift. But from their own experience they knew that many such gifts would soon end up among a growing ‘household returns pile’ or as discarded toys at the bottom of a toy chest. They came up with a simple idea to reduce wastage, whilst encouraging receivers to share their joy with the less fortunate through charity and maybe, put aside part of the gifts as savings.

Their solution was an online portal for gifting coupons that can be redeemed at popular online stores, donated to charities registered with the portal, or credited to one’s personal savings. Receivers could split the coupon value between an immediate purchase, charity and savings, as they wished. Once the concept was fleshed out, the two innovators formed a startup to develop a prototype and take it to market.

Business challenge

The portal would need to robust mechanisms to facilitate payments, track redemption of coupons and prevent fraud.  The founders realized that they needed a capable development partner with the ability to craft a simple, intuitive user experience for users (the B2C side of the portal), while also delivering backend administration functionality for them to manage all tasks seamlessly. The entrepreneurs chose Calcey, convinced by its longstanding boutique software product engineering expertise, acquired through building products for US-based startups.

Calcey solution

Mark and Patrick only had to share the user stories verbally with the Calcey team, who picked up the ball from there to define the solution’s requirements, User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI) and architecture.  The site design distills the founder’s vision into three pillars – gift, give and save. The simplicity of the user experience, with strategically placed ‘call to action’ buttons, enables first time users to get the idea and get started in seconds.

Usability was a key consideration for the backend administration portal as well. Engineered for a non-technical administrator to manage all tasks with minimal effort, it allows the budding startup to focus what they do best – facilitate responsible giving. Development was done iteratively using agile practices. Frequent builds were shared with the founders to ensure that the end product was as they envisioned. The founders’ idea was turned into a fully functional product within a short span of 4 months by Calcey.

The Responsible Gift