Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gerard Panganiban, Co-Founder of Giftinity Inc., located in Skokie, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Giftinity is an AI-powered gift recommendation platform on a mission to transform the gifting industry by creating a new ecosystem to connect customers and sellers. We solve a very common problem—selecting a gift that fits exactly the person you are buying for. Gift-giving can seem like a nightmare at times when you have to decide what to get. It usually leads to disappointment for the receiver and the giver as well.

Giftinity simplifies the gift-buying process through personalized recommendations using AI-driven analyses of the recipient's open-source data. Giving is as simple as scrolling through a list of options and select one. Several parameters can be entered, including price range, type of occasion, location, season, etc., to narrow the selection.

Tell us about yourself

The idea for Giftinity first came to me while working on my master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, inspired by a personal problem relating to my gifting experiences - being bad at giving gifts. When I first pitched the concept in a class project, students – and even my professor—told me that if Giftinity was a real product, they would absolutely have use for it. Outside of the classroom, people would respond to the idea with, “I have that exact problem with gifting: not knowing what to give.” Further research revealed that dissatisfaction with gifts is common.

In 2021, $120 billion worth of unwanted gifts were returned in that year. This is according to an article by Business Insider. Every day, I am inspired to do great things that will add value to humanity. Things that will last longer than a lifetime. I want to live forever, and yes, it is possible by building a brand or a legacy that will outlive us all. It is a difficult feat to achieve, and this inspires me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest success as an entrepreneur was getting three companies up and running - Graphyte Technologies, which specializes in the development of websites and apps, and the design of a broad spectrum of marketing collaterals, Giftinity, and a home health care business, which I recently establish with my wife. I never dreamed of creating three companies. It is tough, but I’m able to do it. Help from other people made it possible.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Managing people. I am still a work in progress when it comes to dealing with and managing people. I’m slowly but surely getting better at it. I consider myself a continuous learner. Forever, I am a student in life. Books, online courses, and personal experience in dealing with others have taught me a lot.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. For those who are looking to start a business, I’d like to share the famous Steve Jobs quote, ‘if you haven’t found your purpose, keep looking.’ Participate in events, talk to people and, whenever you have ideas, share them with the world for validation.
  2. Find out if your idea resonates with people or if there is a compelling need for the market. Once you have the idea, find inspiration, think about it day and night, and work on it. Just like watering a plant and it sprouts leaves. Ideas flourish when you keep on engaging in them.
  3. Execution is the key. You learn, understand, and uncover everything else about the business when you have a product. Be persistent and persevere in the difficulties you face. Overcoming resistance is how one gets to be better in life, just as in business.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

For those who are interested in following us on this journey, please visit our website, and sign up for our mailing list and stay up to date on our progress. Follow us through our social media channels — @giftinityai.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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