17 January 2017, Written by Business News Australia

JULIE Tylman and Ali Linz have taken the stress out of gift giving by creating GroupTogether, an online platform which allows users to pool money towards a single gift.

In around two years the platform has garnered around 20,000 users and has proved especially popular for parents organising gifts for teachers - last Christmas more than 200 schools used GroupTogether for that purpose.

The inspiration came to the Sydney-based entrepreneurs after a busy day ferrying their kids (they have seven combined) to various birthday parties.

"We met for coffee one day after a weekend of ferrying kids to and from birthday parties, and we were exhausted from the driving, parking, buying, wrapping gifts, drop offs and pick-ups involved in attending kid's parties," says Tylman (pictured right).

"We were also gob-smacked at the amount of money we had spent - seven kids' at two parties each with gifts worth $20, plus wrapping and card - only to find out that the birthday kids either already had the gifts, were given multiple copies of the gifts or didn't love them."

With this experience in mind, Tylman and Linz contracted a Sydney designer to create the look and feel of the website, then partnered with a development company to build it.

While every collection is free to set up, GroupTogether generates cash by charging a percentage on each contribution to a collection, which Tylman says is "much less than the cost of a card".

"We are also starting to provide e-gift cards to organisers to save them that extra trip to the shop," says Tylman.

Linz (pictured left) says a key selling point of GroupTogether is its ability to cut out waste while also creating a culture of mindful giving.

"That's why we made it easy to donate a bit of the group gift to charity so kids can learn the joy of giving back," she says.

Tylman also says it can help prevent the dreaded re-gift.

"I really feel for the January babies, they struggle. No need to give the sad, re-gifted Chrissie present, instead friends can keep their new year's resolution and stay on budget by pooling their money together and giving one great gift."

Tylman and Linz have self-funded the platform to date, but are looking for capital for overseas expansion.

"As we are currently experiencing rapid growth and are getting requests from around the world to offer GroupTogether in different countries, we will be looking to outside investors to help us ramp up our presence overseas," says Tylman.

Business News Australia
Author: Business News Australia





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