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Cleverbug set to change how we do greeting cards

  • 01 August 2013
  • Written by 
  • Published in Mobility

It's no big secret that Facebook is changing the way we socialise, but one company is hoping to use it to rid the world of awkward greeting cards for good.

Kealan Lennon, a plucky entrepreneur originally from Ireland, thinks his company, Cleverbug, will be the next Hallmark. And it's hard to disagree.

Cleverbug takes your memories from Facebook and turns them into pre-personalised greeting cards, ready to send.

If someone's relationship status changes from 'single' to 'engaged' for example, the iOS app will ask their friends if they'd like to send a congratulatory card, and then automatically, using an algorithm, work out the most appropriate photos and messages for the card.

The app is extremely simple to use, and can take just seconds to complete the whole process. Users can also pick between card designs and photos to select the layout that best matches the occasion, and send it off for just $2.99.

iTWire met Cleverbug CEO Lennon in San Francisco where he's in town to seek funding, but in a sea of startups it's refreshing to see someone with an idea that already just works. The app has already celebrated its 20 millionth birthday.

"There are a goldmine of photos on Facebook," Lennon told iTWire. "Weddings, babies, graduation, new jobs, divorce... people really appreciate the personalisation, it shows you care.

"We bring together the online and offline worlds, it's pretty magical what we're doing."

And it's a big market. According to Lennon people spend more money on greeting cards than tea and coffee combined, which totally dispels any notion that greeting cards are dying like newspapers or CDs.

"I don't think I've ever given someone a card without apologising," Lennon said. "The cards are often pretty lame, expensive, and extremely generic. This way, no more going to the drug store, no more going to the post office, you can have a greeting card posted instantly, and it's cheaper than buying one from the shop."

Cleverbug also gives users the option of either having cards sent directly to the receiver, or to the person who ordered it, so they can deliver it in person.

Lennon started off as a chartered accountant, and helped sell a packaging business for $20 million when he was 30. His new venture seems like it could well be equally as successful.

"I've had quite a few meetings with VCs already, we've got quite a lot of interest, things are looking good," Lennon enthused.

"I think this could be the default greeting card business in the world. Why would you ever buy one from a store? I think we're going to kill the market, and we're constantly updating. I'm really excited."

The app is currently available for iOS here, with an HTML5 version on the way.

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