Sodacrew’s co-founders Jake Kim and Daniel Lee (source: Sodacrew)
Sodacrew’s co-founders Jake Kim and Daniel Lee (source: Sodacrew)

Business Spotlight: Sodacrew’s Journey From a Fintech Startup to Today’s Reliable Global Gifting Service

Sometimes, great things come from unexpected beginnings. This is the story of Sodacrew, a company that started gift-giving as an add-on to its remittance service product but, later unexpectedly blossomed into an independent business serving hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. What began as a side project became one of the most trusted cross-border gifting services.

SodaGift’s Beginnings

In 2015, Sodacrew’s founders—Jake Kim, Daniel Lee, and Richard Kim—tirelessly searched for the next big thing in business. They toyed with various business concepts but landed on SodaTransfer, a digital wallet service that facilitates international money transfers. Officially launched in 2016, SodaTransfer garnered around 16,000 users who appreciate its cheaper and more convenient money transfer service than traditional banks.

The entrepreneurs saw the success of SodaTransfer, but to make it more appealing, they added a unique perk—a complementary offering that allows users to send gifts alongside their remittances called SodaGift. Both services received positive feedback, yet SodaGift’s growth outstripped the original remittance platform. The three founders saw an opportunity and immense potential in the gifting industry.

Jake Kim, Sodacrew’s current chief executive officer (CEO), adds, “Things seem to fall into its right place at that time. While SodaTransfer struggled with stringent financial laws, SodaGift was booming, giving us, as businessmen, an opportunity to think through and pivot.”

Recognizing the relative lack of regulations in the gifting industry, the co-founders boldly decided to pivot away from the remittance business and entirely focus on SodaGift. Jake Kim adds, “Although we know our remittance platform will benefit those needing a cheap, reliable international money transfer service, we felt the pivot was necessary to give SodaGift the chance it deserved. Though it still was a risk, we believe that risk is what we needed at that time.”

Scaling New Heights

The transition proved to be a turning point for Sodacrew. Officially launched in January 2019, its service, SodaGift, quickly established itself as a seamless platform for sending gifts internationally. By December 2021, the service had garnered 100,000 users; by June 2022, that number had surged to 190,000.

SodaGift’s unique selling proposition lies in its ability to simplify international gifting. Unlike traditional gifting services that often involve lengthy processes and delays, SodaGift allows users to send gifts with just the recipient’s email address, mobile number, or social media handle.

Through its app, gift-givers can effortlessly browse, select, and send gifts to recipients in eight countries within minutes. They can choose from over 4,000 items from 400 brand partners, including 150 US-based brands, and pay through diverse payment options, including Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal. 

Catering specifically to global consumers, SodaGift enables digital gift delivery via email, text message, or social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, or LINE. These are sent as links that the recipient can easily access.

SodaGift also facilitates sending physical items through local delivery options, even without knowing the recipient’s address. Unlike conventional delivery services that require the sender to have the recipient’s address beforehand, SodaGift streamlines this process via a URL link, which the sender can share with the recipient in any format they choose. The recipient can then enter their shipping address for delivery, ensuring a smooth and efficient gifting experience.

Kim mentions, “It has come a long way since we started, but we keep improving our service to meet the customers’ changing needs and lead today’s gift-giving service.”

SodaGift: Giving a Taste of Home

Through SodaGift, diaspora communities, especially those in the US, can experience the comforting taste of home. The platform allows users to send and receive gifts that carry sentimental value, closing the physical gap with thoughtful gestures. 

Whether it is a favorite snack, a traditional item, or a gift card to a beloved local store, SodaGift enables these heartfelt exchanges, ensuring that distance does not diminish the connection between loved ones.

SodaGift strives to offer an even more efficient and inclusive gifting service, standardize this seamless gifting experience, reinforce bonds, and nurture relationships worldwide.
Please visit SodaGift’s website to view its entire catalog of available gifts. 

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