For years, it’s been a norm that sending something in long distance means going to a post office or using Fedex-like businesses. Shipitwise is here to change the way people experience logistics. Sander Gansen writes about their path to success from Garage48, the largest startup hub in Estonia.
By Sander Gansen
On average, the complete process to send something long distance is two hours per package. And in case of a small or medium-sized company, it is often an executive that has to run this errand. What a waste of valuable time. Aleksander, Olari and Ragmar, the founders of Shipitwise, had a goal to improve this state of affairs.
The story goes that on the 29th of November in 2014, Aleksander and Olari were in London with their families, celebrating Aleksander’s birthday. They then found a perfect gift, a wooden statue. But couldn’t manage its transportation back to Estonia. We’ve all been there!
The reality goes much deeper. Both of them had been dealing with shipping throughout their careers for over 25 years. And it had always been a pain! But this was the first time they really started to think, whether there was a possibility to change all of that. They told this story to a friend with a long background in running international logistics business and found out it might really have a business behind it. A team had to be built.
Aleksander’s a businessman, who has started and run a variety of businesses for over twenty years. Olari’s an ex-architect, who had started his first startup couple of years before. But neither of them had a tech background. Therefore Olari first asked if his technical co-founder, Ragmar understood the pain. He did and joined the team.
The company attended the Garage48 Tourism Pärnu 2015 hackathon and started to build a prototype. The founders used the event as an opportunity to test out the team of two developers, Helen the designer, Anna the logistics expert and me, Sander, the marketing guy. It’s also there that we found our first customer – a guy who needed to transport his bike from Germany to Estonia. That was all the validation for us to continue working on the idea!
From there, we applied to Startup Wise Guys accelerator and got accepted. As we had no real background in building a scalable business, we knew it was critical to be a part of the program.
Shipitwise was one of the 250 startups applying to the accelerator that was about to invest €30,000 and the time of more than 80 mentors into ten teams. Fortunately we got accepted, received the investment and have since been participating the accelerator.
Our team started to produce real results after we’d been accepted because it was only then that we really started to market the product that didn’t exist yet. It of course brought the first sales, giving reassurance to everyone in the team. It’s all about the sales!
Being at an accelerator also means we’ve been doing small pivots on more occasions that mentors would like. We started this project by building an app for B2C customers, but have since started to build a platform for B2B customers to make their life easier. To make sending stuff in long distance as easy for businesses as sending a SMS. But we won’t stop before we’ve replaced post offices and rebuilt the whole way people experience logistics.
As of now, we’ve got a network of logistic partners across the world, thanks to many connections coming from Anna. This makes it possible for us to organize shipping of almost anything, anywhere. And the item doesn’t even have to be packed – we’ll do everything! Simply go to shipitwise.com/order, request a quote and accept it.
For example, we’re now helping to move motorbikes, bullmastiffs, and even all belongings for people moving to a new country. And some of our partners include Teleport and Estravel with a few more already testing the service.
Meanwhile, Helen’s already designing a platform with Ragmar, making it completely hassle-free for businesses to organize sending stuff for their customers. No need to fill forms or go anywhere. Just write what you need to ship and we’ll take care of it. With love!
Our initial team has changed a bit but that doesn’t stop us from rapidly growing in Europe. For example, we’ve got an evangelist by the name of Daniel in the UK, organizing travels for the very rich. The current core team includes Anna (Logistics), Aleksander (CEO), Helen (UX/UI), Olari (COO), Ragmar (CTO) and Sander (CMO). And we’re in process of hiring extra developers, logistics and sales people to comply with growth.
So whether you’re a potential hire, an investor or anyone trying to send their stuff over long-distance, join Shipitwise in our quest against post offices!