One of the first questions I get asked is why is the business called Elliephant?
It’s simple, elephants have a great memory. We help businesses remember to celebrate all the important moments for their employees and clients.
What started out as a simple business frustration turned into an evolving intelligence software. Designed to help businesses, big or small and located anywhere, appreciate and remember people at the moments that are most meaningful to them.
Where it all began – the problem
It all began when I was working in an early HR Tech startup. The business was growing rapidly, the team was still small and I put my little mama hand up to make sure that everyone was being celebrated on the moments that mattered…be it a birthday, anniversary, getting married or having a baby. An excel spreadsheet was built with each employee’s name, dates (like birthday and work anniversary), allergies and even preferences…do they like cats or dogs, chocolate or bubbles?
All of this data were then plugged into a google calendar as a reminder to not forget and a budget was set for those occasions. Initially this system worked perfectly and the team culture was strong and positive.
However, as the business grew rapidly, so did the number of employees and client gifting also entered the scene. From an onboarding moment with a new client, appreciating clients throughout the year to celebrating a contract renewal.
When it came to big gifting moments throughout the year, gifting at scale was time consuming and monotonous. From organising a CSV file, knowing what to buy people and then purchasing the gifts – one transaction at a time!
This process could take days or weeks – just imagine gifting for 5,000 employees/clients in a big company.
The sprouting of a seed – the idea
With all of these problems and too many dates and moments to remember, the search for a software platform that could support meaningful gifting at scale was on. However, I soon realised that there was no solution that could solve for this issue and it was there that the seed of an idea to build Elliephant was born.
I shared the idea with my colleague (and now cofounder Johnny) and we started to scope out the idea further and as we did the opportunity to create a software solution became a reality, with much greater functionality than we had even first imagined.
We were designing a solution that could do 4 key things:
- Enable gifting at scale – one transaction to bulk gift to many
- Understand recipient profiles, based on preferences to ensure gifts are things people want and need vs just another generic gift again.
- Remember key dates and send nudges to the buyer in advance of those moments.
- A marketplace of all the best gifts to pick from – 1000’s of physical and experiential gifts from the best loved vendors in one place.
We set out to find a team to help us build our solution, met our incredible technical lead Josh and by October of 2022 we had an MVP ready to launch to the market. Our initial focus was on employee gifting, as that was core to our own experiences having worked in HR tech over the years. We turned it on and within a month realised that client gifting was a much greater opportunity than employee gifting and quickly built out the functionality to switch this option on in Elliephant too.
Oh boy, did we learn a lot in that first 12 months!
What we learnt
We knew the industry had issues, but didn’t realise just how broken the process of gifting actually was – from start to beginning – from choosing the right gift for someone, adding the correct address (yes people move house – a LOT) to actually getting a gift delivered safely to the recipient’s door.
After identifying a number of areas we wanted to focus on immediately we realised that Elliephant 1.0 wasn’t going to cut it…we needed to build out a second iteration of the platform immediately, so focused on a new launch of Elliephant version 2 for 2023.
After much feedback, workshopping and yep… blood, sweat and tears…Elliephant 2.0 was launched in September 2023 with the following features:
- Multiple send options – solving the problem of incorrect addresses – in fact we have a gift send option without even needing a name! You can send via a gifting link (requiring no recipient details), an email (needing only a name and email address) where the recipient gets a more personalised experience and can redeem a gift and add their CORRECT address, or the usual way via an address.
- The gift of choice – giving a recipient the option to pick from multiple gifts at the one price point, so they can choose the gift they like the most. This has been really popular.
- Adding team admins and budgets – to ensure transparent spending – cuts down on black hole ad hoc spending.
We switched 2.0 on…and also switched on a whole lot of pain! Lots of testing, bugs and error messages…all the things you’d expect when going live with a solution. However, within a month, the platform was buzzing, working like a dream and we were getting some great feedback from clients.
Our future roadmap
This year we have a clear focus on supporting Sales/Marketing & Customer Success teams to use Elliephant to cut through the noise on spammy emails, DM campaigns, supporting pipeline generation and acceleration and ultimately build loyalty and retention with customers.
2024 will also bring this and more:
- AI gifting intelligence based on deep data learning to understand recipient profiles and preferences
- An international marketplace offering with a focus on the APAC region
- Gifting campaigns with set gift options
- Automations via integrations with HR & CRM platforms
- White labelled gift store & branded templates
We are now on the road to creating an even greater solution for our clients with an incredibly exciting roadmap ahead of us.