Nicole Emrani Green, co-founder and chief executive, Givingli Inc.

Nicole Emrani Green, co-founder and chief executive, Givingli Inc. Photo by Cibelle Levi

Nicole Emrani Green, 29
Company: Givingli Inc.
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Executive
Business: Ecommerce gifting
Founded: 2018
Location: West Hollywood
Employees: 5

What led you to start this business? 
It initially came together to solve a personal problem when my husband/co-founder and I realized that there was no one-stop-shop gifting solution on a mobile platform. The whole gifting experience felt outdated, and we wanted to build a convenient app that we would feel good about sending gifts with. We knew it needed to be customizable, accessible and have beautiful design. We understood the future was headed to digital, so we took it as a real opportunity to create a platform we were excited about and actually wanted to use ourselves.

How are you funding your business? 
We started off designing and building an early version ourselves. We did our research, shared with friends and family, and once we noticed we were onto something, we bootstrapped and raised a small amount from immediate family. Once we had some solid traction, we raised a pre-seed from strategic mentors and advisers. We joined the Snap Inc. Yellow Startup Accelerator and are now raising our seed round with a great venture lead and angels we could not be more excited about.

How has the pandemic affected your business?  
It didn’t hurt us too much because we are an all-digital product that is bringing people together in authentic and meaningful ways. We experienced over 500% organic usage growth in 2020. We felt very fortunate for that growth, but it was important to us to handle that in the most responsible way by making sure we can bring real value in connecting people all over the country and the world.

Where do you go for advice regarding your business?
From the start, it was extremely important for my co-founder and I to understand that at this stage, all we can do is learn. At first, we turned to books, articles, blogs and followed great tech role models on Twitter. As we got further in the business and began to open up to people about what we were building, we began to work with mentors and advisers and hopped on monthly calls with them. This is a very crucial step for the early stages of building because to be able to gather the knowledge from those who have been through this before is added value that you can’t get anywhere else. Now we have a great network of advisers and strategic investors to go to for support, and it just makes everything a lot easier.

Does social responsibility play a role in your business? 
More than the average tech company, we’re in charge of facilitating close and authentic bonds for so many people all across the globe. So, we feel responsible to lead by example. We want to create gifting that you can feel great about by investing in diversity and sustainability, whether it’s from the artists we bring on to the platform or the designs we include. We’re ready to lean into this heavily in so many ways to help contribute to a healthy social platform where people feel safe.

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