Divey Gulati makes shipping—and more—a snap for small retailers
At his first start-up SnailMailPics, which shipped printouts of digital photos, Divey Gulati, ENG ’09, MBA ’13, regularly wasted 45 minutes in line at the post-office. His solution: ShipBob, which launched in September 2014 to provide Amazon-level logistics to Etsy-sized sellers.
How does ShipBob work?
Say you sell T-shirts on sites like eBay, Amazon and Shopify. You register on ShipBob, connect all your online stores and send us your inventory. We’ll take it from there. Every time someone places an order, the fulfillment centers pick, pack and ship, using the lowest-cost provider. We also update your inventory. You never run out of stock and your business runs seamlessly.
How did you get your first customers?
We stood outside the post office and pitched every person carrying a package. We got kicked out of a few, but we were determined.
We put up a web page at ShipBob.com. Three hours later, the first order came in. We took an Uber to pick up that customer’s package—it was an iPhone charger—and another Uber to the FedEx store for packaging material.
The final cost to us was about $35 and our revenue was $3. Things obviously have evolved since then. But that’s one of my favorite moments—we hadn’t figured everything out, but we were ready to jump in and help a customer.
How much have you grown?
The first 100 packages took three weeks and the first 100,000 packages took a year. Now, we are doing above that number, month over month. We started in Chicago, and then launched fulfillment centers in New York (2015) and L.A. (2016).
What’s next for ShipBob?
We’ll keep refining our software to help e-commerce businesses run their [operations]. Instead of logging into 10 different software solutions, they just go to the ShipBob dashboard to see all the order and customer information in one place. B.O.B. stands for “Bending Over Backwards,” which is what we do to meet our customers’ needs.