Card Gnome: Netflix for Eco-Friendly Greeting Cards

WHAT: Card Gnome is a wind powered e-commerce site for eco-friendly greeting cards created by professional designers. Card Gnome features a catalogue of more than 4.5K cards created by greeting card designers that can be mailed anywhere in the U.S. for $4.99. Card Gnome's Netflix-like suggestion system will learn your favorite styles and users can refine their search with advanced options for the cards message -- which can be personalized -- keyword and gender. Unlike other crowd-sourced card options Card Gnome employs a community of screened designers -- some of whom create cards for major greeting card companies like Hallmark. 

WHY: Greeting cards are a way of expressing emotions. A lot of people seem to think greeting cards are a communication tool, but they're a gift that lets someone know you're thinking of them, but the sheer size of the online catalogue of cards makes it hard to find the right one, users need a system to streamline the selection process.

LAUNCHERS: Joel Wishkovsky, CEO, and Chad McGimpsey, COO, both worked for GE before launching Card Gnome.

WHEN/WHERE: Nov. 2010 / Boulder, Colo. 

BACKSTORY: Joel and Chad worked together at GE. Joel was working on a project in Panama where he was working 80 hours a week, when both he and Chad were looking at promotions to advance their careers within the company. However, accepting those opportunities would essentially end their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. Instead of locking themselves in with GE, they packed up and moved to Boulder to create a startup.

BUSINESS MODEL: Each card costs $4.99 including postage. Each designer earns $0.75 per card -- a 15% cut, the average greeting card designer typically only receives a one to two percent cut.  

ON APPLE'S CARDS APP: "Everybody is pretty excited," Joel says. "But it's not our product, they're selling greeting cards based on photos, Postagram is in that space already. Our entire business is built on the idea of professionally created content, not just photos on your iPhone."

COMPETITION: Zazzle, Cafe Press, Postagram, Apple's Cards App

ON BOULDER'S STARTUP ATMOSPHERE: "Boulder is a fantastic place in a lot of ways and it has a supportive community that is about one-third tech startups, so you have this network of amazing people," Joel says. "We came up with Card Gnome because some entrepreneurs were giving us advice that would not have happened somewhere else. On the weekend, we can completely decompress, and that was something that has helped. I say my best work is done in Boulder because my head is clear."

WHO BACKED IT: Not disclosed.

TOTAL RAISED: Not disclosed, in the middle of raising a round.

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 5. Hiring a Ruby on Rails Developer email: jobs at cardgnome dot com


Card Gnome features a variety of options to filter through its catalogue of more than 4.5K cards created by professional greeting card designers.

Each card offers the ability for the purchaser to add a personal message.
You can schedule your card's delivery, mail it to yourself so you can add a hand written message or you can even buy in bulk.


"An Outsider's Perspective on the U.S. Tech Hotbeds" (TheNextWeb, Oct. 3, 2011)

"Nat Kannan: Why I Located My Fourth Startup in Boulder" (, Sept. 29, 2011)


Card Gnome
Twitter: @CardGnome  

Joel Wishkovsky, CEO
Twitter: @JoelWish  

Chad McGimpsey, COO