Gifting has become a major lever in the world of building business relationships in the last 20 months. With in-person meetings reduced to a trickle, sending a gift to a colleague or business associate has become a more personalized way to reward, curry favor or just keep in touch beyond the basics of pinging each other over a messaging platform, a zoom or an email. Today, Reachdesk — one of the companies that’s riding on the wave of that ever-expanding B2B gifting universe — is announcing that it has raised $43 million, a sign of the momentum in the space at the moment, with Reachdesk’s own business specifically growing 600% in the last year.
Highland Europe is leading the round, a Series B round of financing, with Highland Capital, HubSpot Ventures and RLC Ventures also participating. HubSpot is a strategic backer: Reachdesk integrates with a number of CRM and other business support tools, including HubSpot’s, to help those sending gifts manage their campaigns in a more organized way.
While the world of retail has a clear peak season for gift buying and giving that starts around Black Friday and ends just after the New Year, corporate gifting knows no start nor endpoint except for the beginning and completion (and ideally not the latter, but rather a continuing relationship) of a business association.
So with the market on an upswing to fill the vacuum left when in-person meetings disappeared off the calendar, there have been a number of other B2B gifting startups also seeing growth and raising money to fuel that. They include Sendoso, which announced a $100 million round only a couple of weeks ago. Then there’s Alyce, which raised $30 million in April for a platform it says uses AI to improve the compatibility between the occasion, the sender and the person who is receiving the gift. (That’s not a bad aim, considering that hitting the target on the gift itself and sending something that feels right can mean all the difference between getting or not getting your desired outcome as the sender.) And &Open raised $7.2 million for its own twist on the model, a platform aimed specifically at sending B2B gifts at scale.
Reachdesk was founded in London in 2019 by Alex Olley, Jay Radia, Meelan Radia and Alex Correia-Santos, with Temy Mancusi-Ungaro joining as CEO in May of this year. The idea for the company came out of the same impulse that spurred the creation of at least one of the other startups in the space: personal experience.
Specifically, the two Radias — who are brothers — previously had co-founded Yieldify, a marketing startup that was backed by GV, among others. In that time and across other roles, they firsthand came to understand how manual the process was for gifting in the B2B world, and how it could be so much more meaningful — in the business sense, not the sentimental sense as you might have in a consumer gift — if it could be tied in with other software that people use to track and manage their business prospects and wider strategic planning.
Mancusi-Ungaro — who is based in Reachdesk’s other big center, New York — acknowledged that there are indeed a lot of similarities between different gifting businesses — it is, after all, a very well-defined and massive space, worth some $235 billion annually in the U.S. and U.K. alone — but the key differentiator with Reachdesk, he added, is that it is being operated as a global business, which gives customers the ability to use the platform in much bigger and more consolidated campaigns. That in turn gives the startup access to serving much bigger corporate customers, in addition to smaller ones, in a more efficient manner.
The company does this by providing three main buckets for gifting options. The first of these focuses on the company’s own inventory of items, a mix of a company’s own swag and items that it curates, which Reachdesk houses in co-located warehouses in different parts of the globe. The second is a marketplace, currently with some 50 vendors, that connects gift givers with a network of gift makers that focus on, say, personalised corporate gifts. The third area is the wide world of gift cards, with no physical boxes at all. The idea is to expand all three in the future.
While today most of the use cases for Reachdesk are still in the areas of sales and marketing, there are some emerging scenarios that speak to how it might grow, said Mancusi-Ungaro. These include more internal gifts for employees within your company; and potentially also gifts that a business might send out to its customers, B2B2C, if you would, with the “C” representing not clients, but customers of the business. In such a scenario you could imagine that the global reach and scale of Reachdesk might well come into play.
“The Reachdesk team truly understands the pain points faced by companies looking to break through to customers with effective marketing campaigns and has built a single solution that acutely addresses these,” said Laurence Garrett, partner at Highland Europe, in a statement. “Every team member is passionate about making corporate gifting work for everyone involved, and has a unique take on it, one that is set to capitalize on the potential in this space, and become a clear market leader.”