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Jan 7, 2013 5:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Online Startup Will Eventually Fund Research For Rare Blood Disorder

Jan 8, 2013 3:21 PM

Remsenburg resident Marie Arturi would prefer that the headquarters of her online startup be in a barn complete with pingpong tables, she said last week.

Though the first-floor office space it occupies in Riverhead doesn’t quite meet that vision, her team of smiling employees, mostly in their 20s, seem to create just as fun of an atmosphere.

Buncee, as the startup is called, is an online platform that allows users to create personalized e-greetings or cards and send them over social media platforms and email at no cost. Launched two years ago, the business now boasts almost 19,700 likes on Facebook and thousands of users in the United States and India.

“It is really fun to see how far it has come along,” Ms. Arturi said.

Buncee was born out of her need for a more personalized, creative way to communicate, she explained, but added that it has a much larger purpose.

In 1996, Ms. Arturi and her husband, Manny, learned that their infant daughter, Daniella, had a rare blood disorder called Diamond Blackfan Anemia that prevents bone marrow from producing red blood cells. At just seven months of age, Daniella died from complications of the disorder.

Shortly after, Ms. Arturi and her husband, who have a 20-year-old daughter, Francesca, and a 15-year-old son, Scott, established the Daniella Marie Arturi Foundation to support and advocate for research that might improve treatments and diagnosis of the disorder. They have raised a total of $2.65 million to date.

On her way back from a medical conference hosted by the foundation, Ms. Arturi said she searched the web for a more personal way to thank the doctors and researchers who had attended, but had no luck. And thus, the idea for Buncee was born.

With her own money, she was able to hire a team in Argentina to create a prototype and then hired a team of her own to keep the business running.

Though the website www.Buncee.com, as well as the iPhone app Buncee Bits and the iPad app Buncee Pro, are free of charge, the hope is that the business will eventually be successful enough to support the financial needs of the foundation, Ms. Arturi said. They are currently exploring models that would allow them to begin charging for various levels of service.

“There is nothing that I could imagine that you couldn’t create a Buncee for,” she said, while scrolling through the website, demonstrating the easy process of creating a personalized message complete with photos, music and videos.

“No two Buncees are the same,” she added.

Though she and her husband both have backgrounds in the information technology field, Ms. Arturi admits that she and her team are constantly working to make improvements.

“The site is so robust that it is really staggering what they do,” she said.

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