Entrepreneur Profile: Timothy Bentley Founder Of Giftly


Tim Bentley has many career experiences, including investment banking, technology startups, project management, group management, laboratory research, operations and eating gelato. But before starting Giftly, Tim was at Aardvark.

He was the first employee at the pioneering social search start-up that built the first social search engine. But this search engine was a way to find people, not web pages, through specific information.

Aardvark was acquired by Google in February 2010 for $50 million.

Besides working at Aardvark, Tim was the founder of 1-800-Know-Now – a mobile search company that had human operators help find information for users by either searching for the information themselves or putting them in touch with the right person.

Now Tim is the co-founder and CEO of Giftly, a SoMa-based startup just a few weeks into its public beta test. Giftly provides a way to personalize the gifting experience, leveraging social networks and location-based data so you can treat your family members and friends to places near them, like restaurants, shops and clubs.

You buy a Giftly for a person and choose up to three places in their area that they can use their credit for, and then the recipient only has to register their credit or debit card with Giftly. After that, they just use their card at the chosen venue and the credit pays for the purchase. This all works without the hassle of purchasing a gift card, especially if you live across the country.

Giftly allows you to choose among thousands of places all over the country. An email goes out to the recipient with instructions how to use the customized gift certificate, which is as easy as showing up and “paying” with your credit card — Giftly then credits the gift to your credit card bill. Says Tim:

Where the traditional gift card originates with a merchant, Giftly “puts the connection between two people at the forefront,” says Nish Nadaraja, former Brand Director at Yelp, who serves as Marketing Director at Giftly. The market opportunity here appears seem to be huge, since roughly half of all Americans already use traditional gift cards.

We had the chance to talk to Tim, and ask him questions on his personal and professional experiences:

Was there a turning point in your life, an event that led to your current career?

What is the biggest failure you have experienced in your career? What advice would you give other young people about pursuing a career in the face of failure?

What does success mean to you and your business? What is your dream accomplishment?

Everyone aspires for success, but what drives you to work so hard?

Who’s career inspires you the most?

What kind of training and preparation do you go through every day? How do you improve yourself as your business continues?

How do you plan on expanding your business, keeping it relevant in the future?

With so much going on in your life right now, how do you keep yourself humble in light of your accomplishments? Do you think it is even important to be humble?

Aidan Sakiri |Elite.