Skype-co-founder leads $5.5m funding round for Wrapp

Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström has joined the board of Swedish social gifting service Wrapp after it raised $5.5 million in a funding round led by Zennström’s venture capital firm.


Zennström is a Swedish entrepreneur best known for co-founding high-profile online ventures including Skype and music subscription service Kazaa.


In 2006, Zennström founded Atomico, a venture capital firm based in London, which invests in innovative companies with game-changing technology or disruptive business models.


Wrapp has raised $5.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Atomico, with Zennström joining Wrapp’s board of directors. Nordic VC firm Creandum also participated in the round.


Wrapp was founded by Hjalmar Winbladh, the co-founder of mobile internet company Sendit and mobile VoIP company Rebtel. The company has offices in Stockholm and Silicon Valley.


Winbladh created Wrapp with Andreas Ehn, the founding chief technology officer of digital music service Spotify.


Joining them is Carl Fritjofsson, former strategy adviser to Groupon, Aage Reerslev, founder of mobile browser Squace, and Fabian Mansson, former chief executive of H&M and Eddie Bauer.


Inspired by Facebook, Wrapp allows users to give, receive and redeem digital gift cards using mobile devices, while allowing friends to contribute to gifts given by mutual friends.


Offering iPhone, Android and web apps, users sign in via their Facebook account. By tapping the app’s Celebration tab, they can browse friends or events, and select people to send gift cards to.


All available gift card offers for that particular friend are then automatically listed.


The user selects the retailer and the gift card offer they want, writes a greeting, selects a delivery date, enters payment details and sends the gift.


The recipient is then notified via Facebook and the Wrapp application.


For now, Wrapp only operates with retailers in Sweden. However, it says it will use the new funding to expand to the United States and the United Kingdom.


“Sweden validated our belief that people want to make giving gifts of real value among friends an everyday event, and don’t want to limit it to just birthdays, holidays or other big occasions,” Winbladh said in a statement.


“Everyone likes to be recognised and celebrated. Attractive brands are providing the free gift cards. All you have to do is choose one and send it to a friend. No strings attached.”


Meanwhile, US-based shopping discovery app Zoomingo has secured $1.3 million in funding from VC firms Naya Ventures and Benaroya Capital, and several prominent angel investors.


The app pulls in sales data from major retailers using a combination of manual and automated means, as well as crowdsourcing via its “Deal Scouts”, which are positioned in major US cities.


Zoomingo was founded by Krishnan Seshadrinathan and Shirish Nadkarni, who also co-founded Livemocha, the world’s largest language learning website with more than 10 million users.


Shirish also founded mobile email pioneer TeamOn, which was acquired by RIM in 2002.


Zoomingo says it will use the additional capital to enhance its current mobile application, build a retailer platform and expand its outreach to customers and retailer partners.


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