The startup’s tech hits Hallmark shelves with video greeting cards; partnership “worth the wait”

KAnsas City’s new range of video greeting cards from creative giant Hallmark is more than a one-of-a-kind product innovation – it’s the result of an extensive startup partnership that spanned years, a said Laura Stewart.

“In 2015, we won a Launch KC grant,” recalled Steward, founder and CEO of Kearney, Mo.-based VideoFizz. describing the former Kansas City half-million-dollar pitch contest and its Q&A section with the judges. “The first question I was asked was, ‘Does Hallmark know about this? Sounds like it would be a perfect fit.’”

“The answer is yes, they know and it was worth the wait,” she added with a smile.

Click on here to learn more about VideoFizz and to purchase Hallmark Video Greeting Cards.

The new line of cards combines VideoFizz’s back-end video capture and compilation technology with physical Hallmark greeting cards.

Watch a video below showing how the technology works, then keep reading.



Here’s how it works

• After selecting a perfect Hallmark video greeting card, you scan the card code with your phone.

• Once online, you can add a name, select a song, or attach photos and videos with your heartfelt message.

• You also have the possibility to invite other people to join you, by adding their personalized messages to the welcome message, via a special URL.

• Once all the videos are uploaded, Hallmark will quickly combine the photos and videos into one video.

• When your loved one receives the card, they scan the card code to view, download and share their video on social networks and via direct messages.

Hallmark Video Greeting Cards are available at Hallmark.com, Hallmark Gold Crown stores, and other select retailers. Hallmark also offers a digital-only option on Hallmark.com where personalized video greetings can be personalized and sent electronically via email, text, or social media using the same technology.

“This is a whole new product innovation,” Steward described. “Millions of QR-enabled cards are hitting stores right now. The solution is so elegant. You just need to scan the QR code of the card you purchased, upload photos and videos from your phone, and then to send the card. It’s so easy that my 87-year-old father is a magician.

Senders can also invite others to add a video message or photos to their card with the simple press of a button, she said.

“This means cards can be 1:1 for occasions like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day and can hold 50+ people for huge celebrations like retirements, birthdays and milestone anniversaries” , said Steward. “I created my first map last week. I sent out the invite and received 18 videos within hours, then mailed it.

The card was for a friend who was undergoing chemotherapy treatments and the group wanted to help lift her spirits, she described.

“Turns out she had spent the weekend in the hospital and when she got home the card was waiting for her,” Steward continued. “She said she bawled her eyes out and it was one of the most special things she’s ever received. That’s it…that’s what I hope we can do for everything Spreading that kind of joy to millions of people wouldn’t be possible without this partnership with Hallmark.

The VideoFizz team is especially excited to be the first to market with the concept alongside a partner with Hallmark’s history and reputation, she said.

Family-owned Hallmark Cards is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, and employs 27,000 people worldwide. The approximately $3.5 billion, over 100-year-old company operates a diverse portfolio of businesses.

“No one understands how to commemorate milestones, spread love and care, or create a beautiful memory the way Hallmark does. Working with their teams has been amazing,” Steward said. some of the most gifted artists in the world.”

And Year 6 of VideoFizz’s run sees some of the most talented tech workers coming together for a solution worthy of such a high profile partnership, she pointed out.

“We have assembled a technology group that can innovate and iterate quickly. Agility is part of our secret sauce, and being able to work with agility in a company the size of Hallmark is a great partnership,” said Steward. “The list of people I have to thank is long. None of this would have happened without Eric [Goeken, VideoFizz CTO]. We are a team… There would be no VideoFizz without him.

Steward also credited fellow Kansas City entrepreneur Davyeon Rossco-founder of ShotTracker and DDSports, for inspiration along the way.

“As with any business, there have definitely been dips along the way,” she said. “I always knew that connecting people to their loved ones and giving them a way to make this moment last forever was worthwhile work, but sometimes when it doesn’t happen after 1, 2 year , 3, 4, 5… you think it will never be.”

“Davyeon supported me and pushed me forward when I was struggling,” Steward continued. “I will never forget him.”

More news is yet to come, she said, teasing additional partnerships around the corner for VideoFizz.

“We definitely have a few things up our sleeves. There are still some innovations around greetings, and we’re working on a concept for another $4 billion company to help their consultants bring new products to market more effectively,” Steward said. “We just run the coffee here.”

This story is possible thanks to the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundationa private, nonpartisan foundation that works with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create unusual solutions and empower people to shape their future and succeed.

For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and log on to www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn

Mika R. Pyle