The Next Big Thing You Missed: Startup Aims to Give Everyone the Mighty Shipping Power of Amazon
J Thoendell stashed this in Tech
The tech industry’s effort to master the last mile of delivery is well documented. Online retailers are obsessed with finding ways of getting packages to your door as quickly as possible. But what about the first mile—the mile traveled when you send a package to someone else?
Amazon’s massive fulfillment centers are one way that small businesses can take hold of the first mile. But San Francisco startup Shyp believes that by offering up just one piece of that Amazonian process, it can give just about everyone the power of push-button shipping, creating a new kind of logistics layer for the world’s cities.
The premise of Shyp is simple by design. The idea is to provide the next best thing to pure teleportation. Download the app, take a picture of the thing you want to ship, put in the address where you want it to go—and you’re done. No bubble-wrap. No packing tape. No weighing or deciding between UPS and FedEx. A Shyp courier just comes to your door within about 20 minutes and takes the stuff off your hands. That’s it.
Of course, that’s not really it at all, and that’s where the question of whether Shyp can really work comes in. As with so many other startups that merge mobile apps with services to make life in the physical world easier, the convenience Shyp offers means offloading all the inconvenient labor on someone else. People are expensive, and the physical limitations of moving stuff can’t be virtualized away.
Still, Shyp co-founder and CEO Kevin Gibbon believes his company has hit on a model that can provide all the promised convenience and still make money. If it works, he says the opportunity to streamline the sending side of shipping—the first mile—has massive potential that as yet isn’t being realized. “We’re trying to provide the Amazon logistics for everyone else,” he says.