Spoil, Reinventing Gifting

[This is the third part in a series of profiles on Canadian co-founders making waves in the States. Here’s part one and part two.] 

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Y Combinator-backed Spoil was born out of the frustration associated with the inefficiency of the gifting process. As a personalized gift concierge service, Spoil aims to make it as easy as possible for the consumer to give or receive a kind gesture. Spoil presents a win-win-win situation: the giver can brighten a persons day, the receiver is sent a curated and personalized gift, and companies that team up with Spoil are able to test products and receive consumer feedback.

We sat down with Charles-Eric Gascon, co-founder and CEO of Spoil. Charles-Eric was looking to break out of the commercial side of the service market and into the tech industry. He reached out to Concordia University in Montreal, QC, to ask for introductions to strong potential cofounders. He bugged professors until receiving a response; one cold email to the dean of software computing resulted in a successful introduction to Mikhail Levkovsky, CMO at Spoil. From there they teamed up with their third co-founder, Cristian Asenjo, CTO, and the rest is history.

Charles-Eric, Mikhail and Cristian started out by launching Airborne: a startup dedicated to providing curated lists of new spots to explore within your city. When Airborne’s growth lagged, they decided to rethink their strategy and attack an entirely different market. In discussing some of life’s frustrations they realized that to purchase a gift for a special occasion, they would describe their loved one to a salesperson and purchase whatever was suggested. This is how the idea for Spoil emerged.

They tested out the waters by starting with a $25 price range. Due to demand, gifts were introduced incrementally, with a range now starting from $50 and going all the way up to $500. Making their way up the price ladder, Spoil is looking to expand extensively into their pricier gift offerings. Starting out at a low price point made it difficult to maintain a consistent level of personalization. So, they’re currently sourcing out goods to have the most unique items possible. Even further, they’re looking to expand into the experiential gift marketplace.

For Spoil, personalization from start to finish is a key part of their business. They work with a network of curators, many of which are influential bloggers with their finger on the pulse within different markets. In placing an order, you give a quick description of the receiver of the gift and Spoil redirects the request to a blogger that can adequately address that market segment. If they’re looking for a gift for a fashionable man, they reach out to someone from GQ, for example. The site curator or blogger then makes that selection for them. They also target larger companies who are willing to team up to release products. Spoil is perfect for companies looking for customer feedback, and it’s ideal for consumers looking for access to new items not yet publicly available.

Overall, Spoil seems to really stick to their core vision: delivering happiness to people in a simple way. This is why they ensure that their end user is satisfied, exemplified in their full year return policy and in their promise of a free gift in cases of dissatisfaction. Yet, it’s tough to deny that they’re onto something: while the average e-commerce site receives 22% to 28% returns, Spoil receives just 5%. Spoil is gaining traction and they’re excited to see the next chapter unfold.

Say tuned for next week’s profile on Gymtrack, the creators of the future of fitness. 


Emma Williams
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