Everyone likes receiving packages, but rarely is similar joy found in sending or returning them. For better or for worse, shipping logistics for the average consumer haven’t changed in decades, and sending a package still requires boxing up the item and standing in line at your local carrier.
Shipping startup Shyp, available today in the iTunes App Store (s aapl) with service in San Francisco, offers a mobile app that is designed to take care of that “first mile” in the shipping process.
“We don’t want to be a middle man — we want to be compared to large shipping companies,” said Kevin Gibbon, co-founder and CEO of Shyp. “We want to be a competitor at that initial touchpoint, and be a trusted source.”
The company is opening up a previously closed beta, which took place in San Francisco. According to TechCrunch, Shyp raised a $2.1 million seed round, including backing by author and angel investor Tim Ferris, late last year.
After downloading the app, users simply take a photo of whatever item they plan on shipping and list the end destination. From there, a “Shyp hero” arrives at the door to pick up the item and bring it to Shyp’s San Francisco packing facility. The company handles business with major carriers and ships the package for just an extra $5 fee on top of the postage. Gibbon adds that late or damaged packages are insured up to $1,000.
I would be lying if I said that shipping items, especially awkward ones, wasn’t a total pain. And, with a $5 fee for personal pickup and shipping, Shyp really isn’t out of reach for many people who feel the same way about sending packages or even returning Amazon goods. The problem with Shyp is one that is currently plaguing every similar company out there — proper workforce compensation and protection — and when dealing with sensitive items to ship, it becomes even more of an issue. If Shyp can grow its workforce and maintain order at scale, then the product might be a worthwhile luxury to stay out of the Post Office.