UnWrapIt is Launched!

UnWrapIt launched yesterday at the Centre for Social Innovation. Thank you to everyone who came out in support of UnWrapIt.

It's now live and you can Create a Gift for any occasion. 

Below are my prepared remarks (my actual remarks varied slightly):

Thank you to everyone who has come out for this launch event. It means so much for me to see so many people who I have worked closely with over the past year.

We are here as part of CSI Innovator drinks and to celebrate the incredible community that is the Centre for Social Innovation. And we're also here to formally launch UnWrapIt, a platform that existed only in my mind's eye as recently as August.

UnWrapIt is a marketplace of gifts and gift opening experiences to help you add excitement and joy back into your gift giving, especially when giving non-material gifts like experiences, time together, charitable donations, and digital media. It's also great for giving unconventional & non-monetary gifts like a blood donation in someone's honour or a favour you'll carry out.

But really UnWrapIt isn't about the gifts. It's about several big ideas:

  • That gift giving can be safe for the planet and an occasion for investing in the nonprofit sector
  • That gift opening can be far more creative, personalized, and memorable than the traditional box wrapped with wrapping paper.
  • That technology can genuinely connect humans to humans in the authentic connection that is most natural to our species 

We'll see a demo of UnWrapIt at the end of this presentation. So for the remainder of my presentation, I want to focus on the gratitude I feel for the communities, organizations, and people that have made UnWrapIt possible.

No matter what people tell you, entrepreneurship is anything but a solitary and lonely endeavour. It requires tremendous vulnerability and dependence on others.

Thank you to the following communities that have supported UnWrapIt:

Thank you to the following groups that have played a critical role in the development of UnWrapIt (unknowingly in the case of Shopify and Bold Commerce, both Canadian companies):

Thank you to the following groups, whose products and services are available on the UnWrapIt marketplace as of today:  

Thank you to CanadaHelps and SickKids Foundation. Thanks to these two groups, it's possible to give a donation as a gift or wrap any other kind of gift with a donation. 

Thank you to several individuals who have played a key role:

  • Tim & Maarten of GoWeekly, who developed the first clickable demo of the concept
  • Cora, Jon, and Alex of JRC9 Design Studio. Thank you Cora, Jon, and Alex for all of your tireless and thorough work developing the platform that is launching tonight.
  • Heather Crosbie, my long-term mentor, business advisor, and friend
  • Christine Egger, who taught me so much about complex systems and the interdependence of all things.
  • My fellow Founder Institute working group members and and all of the FI directors, mentors, and volunteers who have helped me clarify the business model and messaging over the past 14 weeks.   
  • All of the beta testers who test drove UnWrapIt over the holidays
  • Kunle Bristow who helped birth the new name for UnWrapIt. (It was previously called 8ways.)
  • To my friends, Sean Mills, Adrian McKerracher and many other friends who have provided encouragement along the way and are here tonight
  • And of course, to my life partner Samantha Green.
Samantha's rock solid support and encouragement is a blessing for which I am tremendously grateful. Samantha also shows me daily what hard work, hustle, and the relentless pursuit of living one's values looks like. Thank you Samantha.


For the demo of UnWrapIt, I'd like to call up members of the GrantBook team.

GrantBook is a company I co-founded 6 years ago and that I remain deeply committed to. The GrantBook team consists of some of the smartest and most resilient people I know. Without the team's support in 2016 in facilitating my transition into a governance role, I would not have had the chance to be working on UnWrapIt now. GrantBook has only grown and matured since I left over a year ago. I may be biased, but I don't think you can find a kinder or smarter group of humans working together in service to the philanthropic sector than exists at GrantBook.

After the gift opening, I'll have a few final remarks and then we can return to connecting with one another and enjoying the craft beer and drinks that CSI has on offer.

Thank you!

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