Jifiti started life as a B-to-C gift-giving service. That didn’t work. Read how they maneuvered their way to a successful B-to-B business.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Shaul Weisband: I was born the United States. I moved with my family, when I was seven, to Israel. Israel is pretty much where I was raised and went to school. That’s where I founded our company Jifiti at the end of 2011. Our development and operations teams are still there. Our US office is based in Columbus. That is where I relocated with my business partner around four years ago to head our local offices here in the US and focus on our business development and marketing.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do for education?
Shaul Weisband: I actually studied Political Science and Marketing. Political Science has always been a personal interest of mine. Marketing is a space that I knew I wanted to be in. Soon after that, I spent a lot of time in the consulting space mainly in marketing and brand development for large international companies based in Israel. That was my focus until we founded Jifiti.
Sramana Mitra: You are the founder of this company, right?
Shaul Weisband: Correct. There are three of us.
Sramana Mitra: When did you finish college and what did you do after that?
Shaul Weisband: I started college in 2002 and graduated around 2005. Right after that, I was doing marketing and brand development as well as working for the government. I did that for the next five years.
Sramana Mitra: Did you start Jifiti right after that consulting phase?
Shaul Weisband: Yes. I came up with the idea with my partner. We were trying to figure out exactly what it would be. Right after that phase where I was doing consulting, I took that leap to being an entrepreneur.
Sramana Mitra: What is the concept of Jifiti?
Shaul Weisband: The concept at the very beginning was about gifting. Our focus has always been on that subset of gifting as part of commerce. We always found that fascinating in terms of how the user experience is very different or should be very different for gifting as opposed to regular shopping. For instance, gifting is the only part of commerce that involves two different people in a single transaction.
For that reason, it requires a very different kind of user experience as opposed to when you’re shopping for yourself. You have all the details in order to complete a purchase. All those decisions are based on someone else. When it comes to the regular e-commerce flow that exists today, it wasn’t designed or optimized for gifting; it’s optimized for shopping. That’s the kind of problem we wanted to tackle. At the beginning, it was at a very different angle and more focused on wish lists. We then realized that we were catering to a much bigger problem.