Dublin-based Cleverbug has signed a global partnership with Vodafone that will see the Irish start-up's CleverCards app offered as an add-on service to mobile customers worldwide.
CleverCards is an app which allows users to select photo-personalised greeting cards from their smartphone or tablet, have them printed and delivered anywhere in the world. The app reminds users of upcoming birthdays, and showcases favourite memories shared between the card sender and recipient in photos curated for each design.
The start-up follows in the footsteps of music streaming service Spotify and broadcaster Sky, in signing a deal of this kind with Vodafone.
Vodafone customers will have exclusive access to a new add-on, CleverCards Complete, which will allow them to send up to three personalised cards including postage to anywhere in the world, plus limitless eCards for a monthly subscription fee.
The technology has been developed for a rollout to Vodafone customers globally, but CleverCards Complete will be available in Ireland first for €5 per month.
It will be offered to Vodafone Ireland bill pay and pay as you go customers from next week, before being rolled out to other countries at a later stage.
Although technology is driving change in some long-standing consumer behaviours, the tradition of sending cards for occasions such as birthdays remains strong, according to Cleverbug founder Kealan Lennon.
He said the gifting market is worth $50 billion annually and is the second biggest after Christmas.
“Everyone is vying for attention on Valentines Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but the gifting market for birthdays is bigger,” he said.
He added that mobile operators around the world increasingly understand how important rich, personalised content is to their strategies.
“We see Vodafone leading globally in this space, so Cleverbug is excited to enter into this strategic partnership, launching initially in the Irish marketplace.”
“The mobile industry is evolving from calls/minutes and SMS to data and content,” he added.
Vodafone Ireland consumer director Marcel de Groot said customers want more from their smartphones particularly with regard to content.
“CleverCards is unique, it’s innovative, and it allows our customers to remain closer to family and friends in a traditional way but by digital means.”
Cleverbug uses its technology and data to drive purchase intent for important personal occasions. Users can create and send highly personal greeting cards whenever and wherever it fits into their busy lives, without having to open their wallet or queue to post.
The company, which has sent more than 10 million greeting cards in the last two years, has built a social graph of closest friends and family for 450 million people around the world.
Mr Lennon said the company expects to double its number of staff from 25 to 50 before the end of 2016.