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Need help packing? Shyp picks up and sends packages for you

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.

2 Responses to “Need help packing? Shyp picks up and sends packages for you”

  1. Jorge Eduardo Ardila

    I don’t even think it has a profitable business model. Due to high intraurban mobilization costs, a $5 surplus doesn’t cover the expenses of sending (on time) a guy and a vehicle to pick the package, the warehousing huge costs and shrinkages. My experience in distribution tells me that this is just another waste of money from the giant bubble in the valley.

    • Andrew Wyatt

      Hi Jorge-

      Your relevant experience certainly highlights the obstacles to normal fulfillment/distribution businesses. We are making shipping items anywhere in the world really, really easy, and we’re doing it by approaching things differently.

      1. Courier mix. – our Shyp heroes pickup items on their own bikes/cars/vans/trucks
      2. On-demand – we focus on balancing Supply and Demand and enhancing Agility vs. optimizing routes for scheduled pickups
      3. Inventory holding – we are using technology to minimize our inventory holding costs, and we only hold a very small percent of items overnight.
      4. Tracking – Items get tagged on first touch and are this visible end-to-end, which allows us to reduce our hedge against shrinkage.
      5. Rewards – when you send more than 20 items in a month we actually waive the $5…

      I guess only time will tell. I’m excited.