Imagine our excitement when we learned that Shypmate is looking to branch out into Ghana, Nigeria, and other African countries. Living in Ghana and having relatives in the U.S., one can relate to the frustrations and stresses associated with receiving and sending deliveries internationally. Not to mention, the exaggerated costs. I mean…
Okay, enough with the rant! In case you are wondering what Shypmate is, well here is some background information about the one-stop-shop and delivery start-up everyone is raving about. Shypmate is an international delivery company based in Silicon Valley, California; a start-up, which is currently part of the winter 2016 batch of the Y Combinator (YC) accelerator program. Companies like Airbnb and Dropbox have all hailed from the Y Combinator.
It is important to note that Shypmate is not your typical international delivery service provider like DHL or FedEx. The newly formed start-up uses an innovative approach to sending deliverables to customers in Ghana and Nigeria through travelers. I’m sure several people have considered doing this at some point but never thought it was possible because of the legality and trust issues associated with such a business. So how is it that the co-founders of Shypmate have been able to pull it off successfully thus far?
We recently had a Skype conference with one of Shypmate’s co-founders, Perry Ogwuche, who was more than willing to tell us all we wanted and needed to know about their innovative venture. Thankfully, our Surfline Internet did not disappoint, well maybe just a little.
Here is a recap of our conversation:
Who are the founders of Shypmate?
We are four co-founders, myself, Chisom Ebinama, Kwadwo Nyarko, and Tochuk
wu Okoro. One Ghanaian and three Nigerians all between the ages of 23 and 25.
(We joked and laughed about this because of the unfair advantage)
What inspired Shypmate?
Shypmate was built out of a personal problem we all faced. Before Shypmate, we found it difficult to send items to Ghana and Nigeria.
Tell us about the concept behind Shypmate
Shypmate has been operating since last year. Currently, the focus is on people living in Ghana and Nigeria who are looking to purchase items from the U.S. Right now we are focusing more on importing but the reverse (exporting from Africa) is in the pipeline.
How do you make sure packages have not been tampered with?
So far we have not had any issues. The shipments are repackaged once received from the distributor and customized for our travelers. These travelers carrying our custom packages are vetted so we have their documents on file and also conduct reference checks.
How many transactions have you had since you went live?
We have had 250 shipments and 230 transactions (meaning 230 have paid for the items to be shipped).
Is Shypmate more affordable than using DHL and other carriers?
Significantly, for example, shipping a $50 item that weights 3lbs. will cost you $215 on average, whereas using Shypmate will only cost you $25.
How long does it take the customer to receive their order?
We guarantee 5 -10 days to deliver to our customers from when we receive the items from the merchant. However, we average 3 days to deliver items. We give ourselves 5 – 10 days just in case of any unexpected occurrences. A lady in Ghana bought an item on a Wednesday via Amazon.com and she received it on Sunday and was very surprised.
What are some challenges you’ve faced and how did you resolve it?
One of our biggest challenges had been earning the initial trust of customers in Nigeria and Ghana. Like you said, there is the whole “what if” fear that they all have. We found this to be a challenge for us, as a new company, but as more people used our services and got to learn more about us, they absolutely loved us.
Any last words?
Shortly after our Skype conversation, I shared a post on Facebook regarding this article and almost immediately received the below feedback from a Shypmate lover:
“Can’t wait! These Shypmate guys are awesome! Great shopping and shipping experience, very seamless service! #HappyCustomer!”
– Naa Ayeleysa Quaynor-Mettle
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. We have yet to ship via Shypmate but you better believe it is in our future plans. Visit www.Shypmate.com for more information about how exactly the platform works. It’s cool, easy, innovative and worth the visit. Sign up as a traveler and save on your next travels to Ghana and Nigeria.
Author: Akosua Akyere, threesixtyGh writer