Got a Christmas present for your friend in London, but don’t want to spend the money to ship it from California? Friendshippr wants to connect you with Facebook friends heading that way who might be your personal FedEx.
The company received $670,000 from angel investors in Dubai today.
Yes, it’s just as it sounds. Friendshippr, an iOS app launching in December, connects you with your existing Facebook friends to help you find people to transport items for you. It does sound sketchy, but Friendshippr assures us that the point is not to pay people you connect with online to take a strange package with them to their destination. Rather, its intent is to help people who are already friends do each other a favor.
Of course, people have been doing this forever. And, believe it or not, “crowd-shipping” already exists. Deliv will connect you with people willing to make same-day local deliveries, and PiggyBee touts itself as “eco-friendly shipping by travelers.” On PiggyBee you can even search for people who offer their traveling services or post a need.
But Friendshippr sees new promise in the practice through the magic of smartphones.
“This is not your typical ‘crowd-shipping’ startup. In fact, we think crowd-shipping or ‘peer-to-peer shipping’ is generally a broken model,” said chief executive Remi Assaf in a statement. “We’ve made some major adjustments we believe will be a game changer in this space.”
You’ll be able to connect with more people, faster, and likely have more shipping desitnations available to you as a result. The app will also let you reward these friends for their help, though Friendshippr stresses that this doesn’t mean there’s monetary payment involved.
Friendshippr is based in the U.S. but operates out of Dubai.