On this episode of the Founders Corner, we interact with Norbert Dziwornu, Co-Founder of Giftpal.
Norbert Dziwornu is a Ghanaian founder who loves working with, and managing startups. He is the Co-Founder of Giftpal, a leading online gifting platform that helps individuals and organisations to streamline the gifting process and make it easier and convenient regardless of your location.
Norbert tells Tech Estate what his experience has been like so far as a founder of a startup.
- How would you describe your startup journey so far?
Building Giftpal has been quite an eye opener for the team. It has been a learning process as we engage with clients, get to know their preference and also see how our services can bring people together. The idea came as a result of a personal frustration we experienced and we saw the problem as an opportunity to be innovative and find solutions.
- As an innovator, what are some of the steps you took to build this idea into a product?
As an innovator you are able to come up with quite a number of ideas, but these ideas may not be valuable enough for people to buy into. We built Giftpal as a business with the intention that people are going to use it and pay for its services. With this in mind, we built Giftpal from feedback and suggestions of people. We engaged with them to know what they want and how best they can profit from this product.
- Looking at how competitive the e-commerce industry is, how is Giftpal able to differentiate itself from others?
I believe that every market presents a lot of opportunities for innovators to benefit from providing their services. However, as mentioned earlier, we are building with a more personalised approach. We are a global company and we are building Africa’s largest gifting and loyalty infrastructure. We also have a business gifting solution whereby businesses can use this platform to reward employees,appreciate clients, etc.
You notice that there are alot of gift cards in the system- Amazon gift cards and the like. However these gift cards are not localised. Sometimes people are restricted with these gift cards because they can only redeem it from a specific place and that can sometimes create some kind of inconvenience. Other times people will prefer experiences to actual gifts like books.
So this is where we come in to partner with the right people to broaden and localize the right experiences for everyone, be it a course you want to pursue, a spa treat, you name it.
- What are some hurdles you faced from ideation to launching of the product?
First of all, if it is very easy for you to build something, you are either lucky or what you have built is not sustainable. The easiest things can easily be replicated but we chose the hard path and one challenging thing has to do with the global economic situation currently.
Another challenge we faced was putting together a committed and skilled team to help ship the product we are trying to build but we have been able to navigate through that.
There is also the challenge of taxation and some fiscal policies imposed by the government. These taxes can affect clients trying to make transactions in order to send out their gifts and this can be discouraging for the clients. Onboarding local vendors to work with has also been a challenge but we navigated through that as well. These challenges are what makes you innovative as a business and they help your business achieve scale faster and grow.
- How were you able to manage the various aspects of building Giftpal?
As a founder you might have to play various roles and be different people for the various aspects of your business because you might not have the capacity to hire the complete team to build the business just yet. So basically you wear multiple hats and it is a good experience because it shapes you to become a better leader and have a more comprehensive oversight of the business operations. So it has been a rather fun and rewarding process.
- How do you intend to stay ahead of the trends, considering how technology and consumer behaviours keep changing?
Customer loyalty is of great value. As long as the business is able to constantly innovate, build with your customers and also team up with strategic partners that can help you grow your business, you will be able to minimise any negative impacts that changes and trends might have on the business and help sustain your customers.
- Can you share one customer success story that made your business feel worthwhile?
There was an instance where someone wanted to send a gift on behalf of his organisation and their initial option was going to cost them a lot. They realised they will be able to cut costs with Giftpal and make multiple transactions as well. So for every customer that uses our platform, we always get that positive response, especially from the receiving end because we are able to put a smile on their faces.
- What are some of the essential qualities you think a startup founder should have?
The startup journey can be a lonely road sometimes. You have to have that conviction that the end result of whatever you are doing is going to be worth it. You have to be willing to learn and be dynamic. Stay focused, be intentional about what you are building and align yourself with inspiring people, be it co-founders or friends.
- What are we to expect in the coming 6 months from Giftpal?
We will be making a couple of changes to our website and then launch the website update soon. We announced a partnership with Bolt earlier this year and we will be announcing more super exciting partnerships. Also we will be launching our loyalty program for businesses and finally, crown the year with the launching of our app.
- Any last words to inspire us?
Be intentional about whatever you do and make sure to build a business that generates money for you. If you are a Christian, be devoted to the work of God and trust that with God, everything you do is going to be successful.
The Tech Estate team is super excited for all the products and partnerships Giftpal will be launching and we can’t wait to experience them. We cherish your time with us, Mr. Norbert Dziwornu, and we look forward to seeing the remarkable things you achieve with Giftpal.
To know more about Giftpal’s services, visit https://giftpal.co/
Follow Giftpal on their social media platforms:
X (Twitter): @giftpalafrica