A new Brooklyn startup called Tendr is trying to bring back the e-card. The company thinks beautiful design done by real artists and a seamless way of digitally sending money along with the card is the right mix.
We caught up with Tendr’s CEO and cofounder, Jeff Beil, to hear how he thinks the business can work.
Technical.ly Brooklyn: What problem did you see in the market to start Tendr?
Jeff Biel: We created Tendr after going to a lot of graduations, weddings and celebrations for friends and family one summer. In doing that, we observed something interesting: people like to give and receive money for milestones. But how we give those gifts is old-fashioned, and not in a charming way. We write a check, tuck it in a generic, store-bought card and sent in the mail to the last-known address you have for that person. Not exactly practical or special.
If you’re on the receiving end, it might go something like this: Your friends and family were generous enough to send you money. A few weeks after the event, you track down all the checks and cash, make a note of who gave you what. Then you go to the bank, where you stand in line to make a deposit. Then you write the thank you notes, go to the post office to get stamps and drop them in the mail.
Having been on both the giving and receiving ends of this we decided to figure out a better, more modern way to do this that still feels special and exciting.
TB: How does it solve that?
JB: Tendr is about making the digital gift giving and receiving experience simple and elegant. We’ve built Tendr to give people the opportunity to give a gift that’s thoughtful in an online space by integrating the best of technology and design.
By bringing in illustrators, graphic designers and artists from around the world to create cards and providing space for the gift-giver to write a heartfelt message inside we’re combining emotion and sentiment with the convenience of digital money transfers.
All you need is someone’s email address to send them a thoughtful, personal gift. We also have free thank you cards recipients can send, making it simple for the recipient to be gracious.
TB: E-cards already fizzled, what’s changed here to make it work?
JB: Two elements make Tendr’s digital stationery different and special. First, and this is the obvious one, Tendr is used to make a powerful impact on someone’s life. Our cards are a vessel for generous people who wish to make a difference during life’s most meaningful occasions.
But if it were just about the money, we wouldn’t have much. We often say Tendr is for when it’s not about “how much,” but “how.” The card is an element in that, but so is the note the giver writes. The cards we offer are designed by world-class illustrators and designers both in our studio in Brooklyn and around the world, which put them head-and-shoulders above what most people think of when the hear the world e-card.
TB: Why did you choose to start the company in Brooklyn?
JB: Living and working in Brooklyn is a pretty ideal, and it’s possible for us thanks to Friends Work Here (previously Studiomates). Many of the artists creating cards for Tendr are based in this space. Being in a fun, creative, energetic space like Friends was the right choice for a business like ours that’s all about the joyful moments in life. Since Tendr is both a fintech company and a lifestyle product, Brooklyn is perfectly situated to accommodate that split.