Meet The Innovators: Introducing Emoot

Gift Cards as we know them gained popularity as a convenient way to give a present to friends, family, colleagues, and community, without the stress of shopping for the perfect gift.  Yet millions of dollars are sitting in lost, unused, and forgotten gift card balances each year. 

Introducing Emoot: the evolution of the gift card. 

Because no one ever wishes they were given a gift card instead of cash.

Emoot is a financial technology startup based in Vancouver BC that is building a commerce platform for social gifting and gratitude with a focus on personal well-being and happiness.

Founder & CEO Nicola Claxton brings her technology, innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurial experience to her new venture.

How did you get started?

In 2021 I was working as an innovation consultant on a project to use technology to support mental health and happiness at Universities and workplaces.  A key finding was the importance of feeling part of a community and the uplifting power of generosity and gratitude.  I had seen an example of this in my previous startup where we had a consumer app whose most popular feature was letting a user ‘buy a coffee for a friend’.

The idea behind Emoot was born when I found an old gift card at home and counted up $500 in unused funds sitting on gift cards in our kitchen drawer.  Wasteful plastic, idle funds, and no meaningful or personal connection to the Gifter. 

Gift cards suck…but they are widely popular and growing to over $8 Billion in Canada by 2026. This struck me as the perfect opportunity to disrupt the static gift card industry with a happier and more impactful gifting dynamic. 

In 2022 I went back to Universities to work directly with students to explore the question: How can we evolve the ubiquitous gift card into something that also helps us engage with each other in a meaningful way, especially at those emotionally charged moments in life?

We heard so many unhappy stories of gift card giving and spending.  Even merchants are not thrilled with them.  We realized this was a huge market gap and opportunity, and Emoot was born.

The names “Emoot” and “” are derived from the Finnish word for ‘emotions’ and our business model is centered on the generosity and social connection inspired by the insights of the World Happiness Report. 

In the Spring we completed an innovation project with The Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver to produce a prototype and roadmap for Emoot.  Our team researched, designed, and user-tested our first prototype (demo video on our Website at 

Emoot is committed to providing opportunities to University students and has worked with teams through Venture for Canada, Isempower, and UBC Marketing as well.

We are launching soon with our “minimum lovable product” and can’t wait to hear new stories about building and maintaining relationships through our gifting and gratitude platform.

How does it work?  

Instead of giving a plastic retailer gift card or Amazon e-gift, Gifters can use Emoot’s Web Application to send a heartfelt and personalized text, voice, image, or video message alongside money as a gift. 

Giftees receive the gifted cash loaded onto a virtual prepaid card in their Emoot Mobile Wallet that can be used anywhere in the world Mastercard is accepted online or in-store. 

Emoot is secure, protecting users against gift card-related fraud.  And it is convenient, displaying your total balance, and transaction history.  Emoot is also interactive, providing a fun and interactive way to send a thank-you back.

How is Emoot a social enterprise?

Emoot’s impact extends beyond the positive benefits of supporting social connection, eliminating plastic, and providing spending flexibility.  Emoot is implementing financial inclusion, especially needed for younger people and newcomers to Canada. 

An Emoot Card provides a simple way to help someone escape a cash-only existence that excludes them from services requiring a credit card and makes them more vulnerable to crime, inconvenience, and higher costs. 

Visit Emoot to learn more and sign up for early access.