Overlooked Ventures invests in Govalo, a digital gifting app, just in time for Holiday shopping

Global supply chain disruptions are growing and product-based businesses are facing challenges with material scarcity, freight price increases, and more. As the difficulties progress, businesses are faced with the harsh reality that their stores will be affected this holiday season by not being able to keep up with the demand. There is a solution. Gift cards.

Despite these disruptions, demand for consumer goods remains high, and much of the purchasing is happening online. E-commerce spending has gradually increased over the last few years, with a dramatic uptick during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we’re closing in on the end of 2021, it’s clear that online consumer spending is likely to continue this upward trend. In fact, global e-commerce sales are expected to hit $4.2 trillion in 2021.

Graph is courtesy of Statista.

However, we believe most brands should be considering a more important reality that is preventing them from acquiring a larger volume of new customers — their price points for first time customers are often too high. We believe the future of lowering the barrier to original entry rests in digital gift cards for first purchase orders. That’s why today we are announcing our investment in a reinvented digital gifting experience.

Meet Govalo

Govalo helps Shopify merchants offer gift cards to their shops and solves the usability problem many businesses face. At first glance, the gift card market is unattractive for consumers and businesses alike. However, this market is growing at 14% annually, and if gift cards are leveraged correctly by businesses, they can bring a wealth of benefits.

With Govalo, brands can facilitate gift card purchases and welcome new customers to redeem digital gifts, significantly lowering the cost of customer acquisition. Over 2 million stores exist on Shopify, which creates a vast number of options for e-commerce shoppers who have a limited discretionary income. In addition, most e-commerce shoppers don’t have an affinity to a brand until they try it, which makes getting new customers even more difficult for brands.

Govalo solves the problem of customer acquisition but also takes digital gifting one step further. Their platform, initially acting as a bolt-on to Shopify, offers businesses one platform to organize all gift cards and provides premium analytics + data.

And once gift cards are purchased, they often sit in a drawer unnoticed and unused by consumers. Although global gift card sales are expected to increase to $510B, 29% of those who receive a gift card never use it. However, once a company convinces someone to use their gift cards, it’s likely that they will spend more than the gift amount. In fact, 59% of consumers do.

Overlooked Ventures x Govalo

Overlooked Ventures is proud to be the first institutional investor in Govalo. We are excited to be backing both Kelly Vaughn and Rhian Beutler, co-founders, who are taking the gift card industry out of the past.

The two Shopify veterans, who met in New York City at Shopify Pursuit in 2018, remained in contact for years as friends, and in June of this year, they had a conversation about the future of gifting in e-commerce. Kelly and Rhian knew there was a problem in the industry, and it was one that they needed and wanted to solve.

Both of Govalos’ founders come from a retail and entrepreneurial background. Kelly is a self-taught developer of 20 years and started freelancing at the age of 14. Her agency, The Taproom, builds custom development solutions for high-growth merchants on Shopify. Rhian co-founded venntov after working in corporate banking. Venntov helps Shopify merchants scale their businesses with three separate Shopify Apps: SEO Manager, Order Lookup, and Clocked In.

Kelly and Rhian dedicated the last decade of their careers to helping small businesses grow on Shopify, and their newest venture Govalo will make a huge difference in the growth of both small and large businesses. One of the greatest parts of Govalo is that it is accessible to entry-level merchants but also scales with the enterprise companies.

Govalo applied for funding with Overlooked Ventures because they believed in the mission and dedication to equitably distributing capital to historically ignored founders. Overlooked Ventures is not only thrilled to be backing smart and seasoned founders but with the recent Crunchbase report showing the five-year low of funding for women, OV is doubling down to be SURE to support and fund women entrepreneurs!



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