Whether it’s presents to family or products to customers, it’s almost universally acknowledged that shipping physical goods is a huge pain.
You must either go to the post office, UPS, or FedEx to drop something off, or deal with waiting for the truck to arrive. You have to look through the pricing options at different carriers. And you need to choose among different tiers of service that don’t sound all that different.
Shyp is a startup in San Francisco that wants to change all of that. It wants to bring the simplicity of Uber to shipping: Take a picture of whatever you’re shipping, a driver comes to pick it up, and then Shyp handles the rest.
In only a few short months last year, what began as a Google doc that co-founders Joshua Scott and Kevin Gibbon would pass around to friends who needed stuff shipped transformed into a well-planned operation with $US2.1 million in funding.
Originally conceived of as an easy way for consumers to send packages, the team soon found that businesses were also incredibly interested in being able to ship their wares anywhere in the world with only minutes of notice. In a conversation with Business Insider earlier this week, Gibbon noted that the company’s transactions have been approximately split between consumers and small businesses in the city.
While they’re currently still in a private beta, the team says that shipments are steadily growing through word-of-mouth, and customers continue to find new ways to use the service. One example Gibbon gave was a user who had Shyp take care of moving out of an apartment; rather than hiring a moving truck or boxing up his things, the client simply had Shyp drivers pick up the stuff and handle all of the work of getting it across the country.
Gibbon envisions a future where all kinds of businesses use the service to handle the “first mile” of shipping: simply getting their work out the door. Etsy users, for instance, could focus on making their goods while letting Shyp handle all of the logistics of getting the wares to buyers.
Here’s how Shyp’s service works:
Shyp users take a photo of whatever they want to ship. Since some drivers are on bikes and others in trucks, this lets them quickly access their capacity and whether the stuff will fit.
A Shyp driver, or “Hero,” stops by in minutes to pick it up.
The driver puts the item being shipped into a bag with a QR code tag that lets Shyp keep track of where each item is going.
All of the weighing, packing, printing and boxing is handled at Shyp’s warehouse.
Once that’s done, they also make sure that the packages get to the correct carrier on time. Total cost to the user: the USPS going rate, which is usually the cheapest option. Shyp makes its money by finding the most affordable carrier that meets its requirements and paying lower wholesale rates.
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