In July 2013, a startup called Shyp launched to bring the ease of hailing an Uber to delivering packages.
Its goal: people should never have to visit a post office. Instead, they should just take a photo of an item they want to mail, press a button to summon a local delivery person, and have their package whisked away.
The service, which raised $US12.1 million from venture capitalists, is currently available in New York City, Miami and San Francisco with Los Angeles launching soon. It costs $US5 per package plus the cost of shipping so it’s more expensive than just visiting the post office yourself. (Most packages can be shipped for just over $US5 at USPS stores, so Shyp more or less doubles the cost). But the app saves you the hassle of figuring out which hours the post office is open and lugging bulky items to it. It’s similar to another popular startup, Postmates. But Postmates only delivers packages locally. Shyp will send your items anywhere in the United States, like FedEx or UPS.
We tried Shyp to mail a small package, an iPhone and a charger, to another state. It worked perfectly.
When you login to the app, you’re prompted to add a new shipment. Type in the recipient’s address and snap a photo of what you’re sending. You can then choose to send the item express by a guaranteed date for 3-6X more or economy for 3-7 day shipping. You can also get shipping cost estimates by typing in the item’s height, depth and weight.
As soon you hit “Pickup Now,” the app begins locating a Shyp Hero — a Shyp delivery person — to come get your package. The wait time in New York is usually about 15 minutes. Like Uber, you can message or call the delivery person if you need to get in touch.
Within a minute, our delivery hero had been summoned.
Shyp sent us a text and let us know that our delivery person, Cesar, was on the way. I got a call when Cesar showed up and handed him the iPhone and charger. He slipped it into a Shyp-branded bag and sped off.
Shyp then texted again to let me know the item had been shipped via FedEx. It also sent the tracking code.
I also received an email of my receipt, just like the one Uber sends. It broke down the cost to send my package, but I was able to ship my first one for free by using my colleague Nich’s referral code (This isn’t some writer perk, you can do this too).
3 days later, I was notified that my package had been delivered to Maryland.