Buncee online greeting site launches

Marie Arturi, center, founder and CEO of Buncee,

Marie Arturi, center, founder and CEO of Buncee, is surrounded by her Buncee team during a pep meeting before the launch. (Oct. 24, 2013) (Credit: Randee Daddona)

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Buncee, a Stony Brook tech startup, formally debuts Tuesday, hoping to make a splash in the crowded field of websites to create online presentations and greeting cards.

After 18 months of unraveling kinks, Buncee is rolling out its service for users to design invitations, thank-you notes, marketing materials, slideshows and more using photos, videos and sound clips.

"We are hoping Buncee will be that creation site for everything in the home," said Marie Arturi, who conceptualized the site while looking for a way to send thank-you notes for a nonprofit foundation she runs.

The launch of Buncee, which won acclaim last spring at an entrepreneurs conference in Silicon Valley, comes as officials hope a groundswell of startups will revive Long Island's economy. Yet Buncee, like the regional effort, faces a tough climb, analysts said.

The e-greeting card business overflows with more than 2,600 companies jostling for $2.7 billion in total annual revenue, according to IBISWorld Inc., a Los Angeles-based market research company.

Buncee, however, may stand out, said David Strom, an independent analyst who focuses on tech. Unlike most of its competitors, Buncee allows users to move beyond greeting cards to create multi-page interactive presentations replete with videos, sound effects, animation and other features.

"If you want something a little sophisticated and you want to dress it up . . . then this is an interesting product," Strom said.

Buncee, which has eight employees and drew 13,000 users during its 18-month trial, plans to generate revenue via advertising and charging for premium service. The strategy includes marketing it to teachers as a lesson-plan design tool.

"We are giving everybody this sandbox," Arturi said, "with lots of toys."

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