GiftYa | About Us

About GiftYa

Jason Wolfe, our founder, created the Internet’s first online gift card website in 1999, eventually renaming it to GiftCards.com in 2002. After selling GiftCards.com in 2016, he set out to improve the gift card itself, which had not changed in 25 years and focus on speed, no waste, security, meaningfulness, & flexibility.
NO WASTE

Standard gift cards are a single-use product that generates over 17,000 tons of plastic waste each year. GiftYa is the preferred environmentally friendly digital gift that still offers ultimate personalization and flexibility, no plastics.

Our digital gifts cut down on unnecessary packaging and reduces the number of plastic gift cards that end up in landfills. You no longer must search through the shelves at the store, thousands of merchants across the US are now at your fingertips no matter where you are located.

MEANINGFULNESS

Gift cards have earned a reputation of being impersonal. Did you know that 59% of the US population would opt for a gift card as their preference when it comes to receiving gifts?

By combining photo and video personalization along with the ability to give a gift to over 50,000 retailers (and 350,000 locations) nationwide, the GiftYa team has created the most meaningful and personalized digital gift on the market.

SECURITY

Have you ever had a gift card lost or stolen? Or are scammers using your stolen credit/debit card to buy gift cards? GiftYa is the next-generation gift card that uses the same card-linking technology as Venmo or Zelle and others so that your gifts are always available, always traceable, and always used. They cannot be used by criminals. We partnered with Visa, Mastercard and American Express to make sure your gifts can never be lost, stolen, expired, or forgotten and that we can start to turn these gift card statistics around:

  • Since 2018, Americans have lost close to $245M due to gift card scams.
  • 51% of US adults forget to redeem their gift cards.
  • 29% of US adults let their gift cards expire.
FLEXIBILITY

GiftYa offers maximum flexibility by providing users with the opportunity to exchange a gift for a different merchant, or exchange your gift for a Visa gift card, or exchange it for cash by Zelle. Our goal is to make sure that all gifts are 100% perfect for every recipient. This feature is great in cases where merchants are no longer in business, the merchant is not something the recipient has access to or is interested in. We also offer the ability to pay it forward and send the gift to be received by a new recipient.

National & local merchants

253,733
Total Locations
We are adding new locations daily and cover almost every major city in the United States.
422
National Merchants
Major restaurants, retailers, and more - perfect for any occasion and every recipient!
15,083
Local Merchants
We partnered with local merchants across the country to provide even more personal and meaningful gift options.

DECADES IN THE MAKING

Over 150 team members spanning 21 states, 6 time zones, 4 countries and 2 U.S. territories, and 1,082 years of combined experience. We are an elite team of gift card and fin-tech powerhouses working to make GiftYa a household name. We are adventure seekers and DIYers. Dads, moms, grandparents, and pet parents. Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers. Wood workers, chefs, Star Wars fans, and musicians. Oh, and we all have one mission; to work hard, be nice, & create the next generation of gifting.

Click on year below to see GiftYa’s history

Jason Wolfe, founder and CEO of GiftYa, created DirectCertificates.com. Did you know that before gift cards, people purchased paper hand-written gift certificates? These gift certificates were large, easily damaged, and prone to counterfeits.

Wolfe purchased the GiftCards.com domain, and rebranded DirectCertificates.com. Due to the many problems concerning gift certificates, the company changed directions and began to focus on selling one product: the first online Visa gift card. At that time, Visa gift cards were not available in retail stores.

Wolfe purchased a 20,000 sq. ft building and began to broaden the GiftCards.com product offering with a new focus on corporate clients. With improvements to the way corporate gift cards were delivered and serviced, the company expanded and became Visa, Mastercard, and Discover certified.

Two friends name Adam Ludwig and Patrick Ledbetter were looking for a way to share drinks with friends and relatives across the country, even when they weren’t in the same place. To solve this problem, they created Give Real. Give Real allows someone to give a gift card, but the value is tied to the recipient’s credit card instead of a separate gift card.

Wolfe was introduced to the Give Real idea through his patent lawyer, Tom Isaacson. Immediately in love with the idea, Wolfe reached out to Ludwig and Ledbetter. Not long after, they agreed to join forces to patent and expand the Give Real concept.

Wolfe decided to launch GiftYa (formerly Give Real), funding the venture with $1M as a separate business unit under the GiftCards.com umbrella. However, at that time the banks would not permit GiftYa to have access to customer purchase transactions. Knowing that the timing was not right, Wolfe decided to table GiftYa for now and wait to launch until the industry was ready.

Now refocused on GiftCards.com, the company grew to more than 5,000 clients, including more than 25% of the Fortune 500. GiftCards.com created more than 2,000 branded rewards cards and sold over $1B in value load. GiftCards.com became the world’s #1 gift card website.

GiftCards.com and OmniCard.com grew to over 100 employees and was sold to Blackhawk Network for $120 million in early January. “I couldn’t imagine a better pairing than with Blackhawk Network,” said Jason Wolfe. “We’re confident that our customers will benefit significantly from the expanded reach, products and services that Blackhawk has to offer.”

After the sale of GiftCards.com, Wolfe refocused his remaining team of 25 employees on GiftYa. The industry had evolved, Wolfe held numerous patents on the idea, and he knew it was time for card-linking to become the next generation of gift cards.

GiftYa was officially launched on December 21, 2018. Our vision is to help move humanity to express care for each other more often, and quick, through beautiful gift giving. GiftYa is disrupting the gift card industry with a much better gifting product than what exists today. GiftYa is a personalized gift for any merchant in the US, sent by text within seconds, and can never lost or stolen.

In 2019, GiftYa grew to 45 team members. We also finalized our tag line: The Thought that Counts. Partnerships and integration with Visa and Mastercard were finalized as well as an integration with Yelp. Our mobile app downloads grew to 20,000 and our website receives about 400 visitors per day as we work through the Beta of GiftYa.

In 2021, GiftYa grew to 75 team members. We grew to 180,000 merchant locations that you can buy a GiftYa for across the USA along with 300 National merchants. We signed several large partnerships to use our Card Linked Gifting platform, and we are making a dent into the gift card marketplace.

Telos Gifting, GiftYa’s parent company, grew to 100 employees and contractors. We are proud to have partnered with over 400 national merchants and 30,000 local merchants across the United States. We also launched the GiftYa platform APIs.

In 2023, we expanded our team to include over 150 talented individuals who are passionate about revolutionizing the gifting industry. Added push to bank with Zelle integrations, enhanced linking capability by 25% of GiftYa users seamlessly linking their Visa, Mastercard, or American Express cards to their GiftYa accounts.

Our Story

GiftYa® can be described as the Venmo of gifting, but with additional unique features. With it, you create a personalized “gift.” It’s never lost or stolen, it’s fraud-proof and delivered via text in mere seconds.

The idea of the gift credit was first conceived in 2008 when two friends, Adam Ludwig and Patrick Ledbetter, wanted to buy a beer for each other while sitting in restaurants in two separate parts of the country. Adam, sitting in a San Francisco restaurant, can buy Patrick, in a Boston restaurant, a gift credit for a beer in real time. When Patrick swiped his Visa card at the restaurant, he’d get a credit refunded to him for the beer Adam bought him. Pretty cool, we know. 

Fast forward a year or two, Jason Wolfe, a gift card pioneer and founder of GiftCards.com, and Tom Isaacson, inventor and patent lawyer, teamed up in partnership with Adam and Patrick. GiftYa was formed and we were granted/issued several key patents around the process of gift credits. That portfolio has expanded to 7 patents granted/issued.

In 2013, we tried to launch GiftYa commercially but the API connections and system to make it seamless to users were not ready for prime time. We tabled it to continue to focus on GiftCards.com which eventually reached over a billion in sales.  

In 2016, Wolfe sold GiftCards.com, the largest online gift card site, to Blackhawk Network and began focusing on GiftYa. The ecosystems with banks and networks advanced enough in 3 years allowing us to re-focus on GiftYa, and we did.

In 2019, we grew to 45 employees and over 5,000 merchant locations using GiftYa. We continued to focus on the product, user experience, and partnerships. We signed up dozens of merchants daily and we hoped to soon cover the entire U.S. 

In 2021, GiftYa reached new heights, solidifying its position as a leading gifting website. Our team expanded to 75 dedicated members, and we proudly offered GiftYa for use at over 180,000 merchant locations in the USA along with 300 national merchants. We signed several large partnerships to work with our Card Linked Gifting platform, and we are making a positive impact in the gift card marketplace.

In 2022, Wolfe, LLC, GiftYa's parent company, experienced remarkable growth, with our team of 100 employees and contractors. We formed valuable partnerships with over 400 national merchants and expanded our network to include 30,000 local merchants with over 300,000 locations GiftYa could be used across the United States. Additionally, we launched the GiftYa platform APIs, enabling seamless integration and enhancing the overall gifting experience.

In 2023, GiftYa continued its mission to revolutionize the gifting industry. Our team expanded to over 150+ talented individuals who share our passion. We introduced push to bank with Zelle integrations, allowing for convenient transfers of GiftYa funds to bank accounts. Moreover, we enhanced linking capability with over 25% of GiftYa users linking their Visa, Mastercard, or American Express cards ensuring an even more effortless redemption experience.

GiftYa is connected to your current Visa, Mastercard, or Amex and tied to the merchant; thus having no loss, no criminal activity, and can be purchased for any merchant in the USA.

Our Values

We perform as a team of driven, high-integrity people who care about our customers, employees, and community.

Column 1 Icon
Integrity

The foundation of our company is trust, with every interaction and transaction.

Column 1 Icon
Caring

We give our time, talents and resources in service to each other and our community proactively.

Column 1 Icon
Drive

We are self motivated, empowered, diligent, and committed to our best performance in everything we do.

Column 1 Icon
Teamwork

We create social cohesion and collaboration as we treat others with respect and collectively succeed.