Tech giant Facebook has partnered with Israeli startup Rise.ai to implement a new gift-card initiative meant to boost sales, engagement and traffic for small and medium-sized businesses at a time when revenues have declined due to the coronavirus crisis.

Founded in 2015, Rise.ai is a Tel Aviv startup that partners with more than 3,500 digital stores, most of them in North America. It offers AI-driven customer re-engagement solutions, and its platform manages brand re-engagement activities such as gift cards, loyalty cards and rewards.

Its new partnership with Facebook gives small and medium businesses all the infrastructure they need to promote and sell digital gift cards to people in their vicinity on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram using the customers’ geo-location details.

“The coronavirus pandemic requires businesses to sell and engage with merchants on more channels and to find more effective ways to prosper,” said Rise.ai founder and CEO Yair Miron. “Since Covid-19 started to affect the market, we see tremendous need for advanced digital gift cards and store credit solutions to fuel the growth of merchants.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our community and economy – they’ve always been there for us, and now it’s time for us to be there for them,” added Melinda Petrunoff, director of Small Business Facebook, ANZ. “We hope these gift cards will be useful in providing much needed support for them during this crucial time and empower our community to discover and share new small businesses.”