There are so many tools & services available to simplify the multicarrier shipping process. This includes the creation of shipping labels that make it possible for e-commerce. The global eCommerce market is estimated at nearly $5 trillion.
Shippo is an example of such a company. The organisation, based in San Francisco, was founded by President Simon Kreuz and CEO Laura Behrens Wu. It offers an API and web interface that allows businesses to create shipping labels. They also support address validation, multicarrier support, API tracking and batch label creation. It can integrate with e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify. To get discounts, it aggregates customers’ packages with carriers.
Behrens Wu moved to San Francisco from Germany to intern at LendUp. She was so inspired that she decided to start her own business. Kreuz was her fellow intern. Simon, my co-founder, was the technical one. We began brainstorming about what we could build but couldn’t come up with anything groundbreaking or world-changing. Then we decided to build an online store. Let’s get started building something. We’ll come up with more details later. That was our first step in building something together,” said Behrens Wu
They started building their online shop while they were still at work. They were then faced with a shipping problem. They began receiving orders and had to ship their products. Shipping proved a significant challenge and took over the joy of managing their online shop.
“Given we were bootstrapping the company and owning the inventory, shipping required that we travel to USPS to stand in line. It is not the best place to ask for advice. This was our first venture into shipping. It was a challenging task. It was time-consuming and highly tedious. So I began to look into other tools like Shopify or Stripe for payment processing. They’re solving complex problems. What is the equivalent for shipping? We couldn’t find anything we liked. And that shipping is a significant pain point. That was when we decided to close that store. We will begin figuring out how to ship better to online stores. That’s what we have been doing since. Behrens Wu says that we’ve been on a journey making it easier for small businesses to ship.
Shippo helps over 120,000 customers, primarily small- and medium-sized businesses, with eCommerce shipping. The industry employs over 300 people and is looking to expand into Europe, Australia, and North America.
The company has now raised $154.3 million in the financing, with the latest $50 million E Round, which Bessemer Venture Partners led. This round valued the company at $ 1 billion. Uncork Capital and Impede Capital are additional investors. Union Square Ventures is another investor.
Behrens Wu was born in Germany to a German mother and a Taiwanese father. She also spent a portion of her childhood in China. Because her father was an entrepreneur and always worked and traveled, Behrens Wu’s father discouraged her from becoming an entrepreneur. My dad said he wanted to work a 9-5 job and come home for dinner every night. He did just that. It was great fun. “So, I never thought being an entrepreneur was something I wanted to do,” says Behrens Wu.
After spending some time in China, she returned to Germany but felt that it was culturally restrictive and wanted something new. After graduating in Switzerland from the University of St. Gallen, she was able to move to San Francisco. I got the internship in San Francisco almost by chance. At a Y Combinator Zurich event, I met a founder of a start-up, and he offered to send my resume to the YC mailing lists. Behrens Wu says that I was successful in getting a lot of interviews before landing a job.
She went from an intern at a start-up to opening her online shop, eventually leading to her co-founding Shippo. As the business grew and was successful, she had to deal with the transition from a ‘do it all’ founder to CEO of a mid-sized firm valued at $1billion with hundreds of employees. I’m finding it easier to be CEO than years ago. It all comes down to personal development and working closely with a coach for CEOs. This is something I’ve been doing for several years. Management of people is not something you can do by nature. It must be learned. You won’t know this in college or school. You must learn how to manage people quickly when you become the CEO. The first mistakes are very painful. It gets simple once you get past the first mistakes. Behrens Wu says she has a great team of executives I can work with daily.
What is the future? “Shipping powers commerce on the internet, and we want this to become a global business. The other thing is that we are still early in ensuring that our product has the data and analytics to make it smarter, more intuitive, and more predictive for our customers. We’re still in the early stages of that process. We’re eager to follow that path,” says Behrens Wu.