It's easy to intend to send someone a holiday package through the mail. It's an entirely different proposition to pack it, find the best delivery price and then take that item to the corresponding shipping outlet. Shyp is one of several startups stepping in to make it a little easier for you to never leave home. Imagine if all major delivery outlets offered an option to come to your house, take your unpacked item and pack and ship it to its destination. This is exactly what Shyp does.
We got an introduction to the service, which launched in March, at The Next Web's USA conference. "When you consider all the e-commerce with same-day delivery, people are starting to expect more instant gratification," said Shyp's head of marketing, Lauren Sherman. After taking a picture of what needs to be shipped, you press a button in the app labeled "Summon Hero," and about 20 minutes later a Shyp employee arrives to receive the outgoing delivery. It goes to a packing facility to be prepped for delivery, then it's funneled to a Shyp partner — FedEx, UPS, even the USPS — for final delivery.
Shyp makes money in a couple of ways. It charges a flat fee of $5.00 per pickup, and it collects shipping fees at retail prices but pays discounted, volume rates to carriers like Federal Express and UPS. Packing is free. The company even has its own custom box-making machines if you're sending something of an unusual shape or size. It currently serves three markets -- San Francisco, Miami and New York City. Los Angeles is on the way in early 2015.
Shyp has so far received $12.1 million in venture funding, the bulk of which came in the most recent round from Sherpa Ventures and Shervin Pishevar.
Sherman said that the service is seeing widespread adoption but would not disclose how many customers it has. A casual user might send gifts every once in a while, or a medium-sized business might adopt Shyp as its go-to solution for order fulfilment, as is the case with Bernal Cutlery in San Francisco. Without having to hire any new employees, rent warehouse space or even buy packing materials, companies can effortlessly turn their storefront operation into one that also serves the rest of the world.
Packing can be deceivingly complex. "No one really knows this, but the regulations for safe international shipping are to pack an item so that it can be dropped from five feet," said Sherman. To see to it that all Shyp items are packed with loving care, the company hired a team of professional packers, most of them with backgrounds in fine arts. The logistical challenges associated with shipping one-of-a-kind artwork around the world make these people especially capable of packing anything else, from the small and innocuous to the big and priceless.
Shyp uses a means of transport modes to collect packages, from bicycles to roving trucks. Sherman shared her favorite use case with us. "There's a couple in a long-distance relationship -- one person in New York, one in San Francisco -- and every week they send each other items."
The company is one in a long line of startups that are making it easier for us to never leave our homes. Consider Parcel, New York City's package receiving service that takes Amazon orders and packages of any sort to recipients' doors, when they are actually home to receive them. A company called Priv will send hairstylists, yoga instructors and even massage therapists to customers' homes to spruce them up. Uber, of course, can pick you up from anywhere you like.