Shipping packages is a pain for most of us. For San Francisco’s entrepreneurs, that makes it a big opportunity.
The latest startup to alleviate the hassle of posting and packaging is Shyp. The service launched today in San Francisco after several months in private beta.
Customers download the Shyp iOS app, take a photo of the item they wish to ship, enter the address, and the type of service they require. A Shyp worker, referred to as a “hero,” picks up the item and takes it to a secure place to be packed and delivered. Shyp determines the cheapest and most reliable shipping service to use, between UPS, FedEx, DHL, or the U.S. Postal Service.
You don’t have to box your item. You don’t have to futz with tape, labels, or markers. Just take a pic and push a button.
Chief executive Kevin Gibbon said by phone that the company has helped ship “thousands of packages around the world.”
“The shipping industry hasn’t seen any innovation for decades,” added Gibbon, who started Shyp alongside UX designer Joshua Scott. Scott and Gibbon previously worked at Attachments.me, a startup that shut down last year.
“We’ve been surprised by the predictable and steady ramp-up in demand,” he told me.
Shyp charges a pickup fee: $5 anywhere in San Francisco proper. The company is also opening to negotiate discounts for business customers with a large volume of packages. According to the founders, about 70 percent of their customers are offices, and about 30 percent are individual consumers. Most of Shyp’s most avid fans have some kind of e-commerce presence — an eBay power seller, for instance.
The challenge will be to convince people that Shyp is a better option than FedEx, which provides a reliable express service for pickup. But Shyp offers something fairly unique in working with all the traditional carriers to determine the best price — not to mention actually packing and labeling your item for you. It functions as more of a middleman. That’s an attractive prospect for individuals or companies who ship a large volume of items (shaving a few pennies here or there off the price will add up to significant cost savings.)
Shyp has already raised $2.1 million from investors, including Homebrew Ventures and Sherpa Ventures, as well as a number of angels that include Tim Ferris, Antonio J. Gracias, and Daymond John. Gibbon hasn’t ruled out raising additional capital in the near future so Shyp can expand to more cities in the U.S..