Shypmate (W16) Brings the Sharing Economy to International Shipping

Even today, it can be very hard to get access to certain consumer products in many countries. Many products aren’t sold everywhere, and if it’s possible to get them at all, they’re either super expensive or you have to wait many months for delivery.

Shypmate is a company launching out of the Winter 2016 Y Combinator class that allows people in Nigeria and Ghana to purchase items sold in the U.S. and get them delivered by travelers between the countries -- bringing the sharing economy business model into international shipping.

TechCrunch reporter Megan Rose Dickey interviewed the founders of Shypmate and wrote about the company in an article published this week:

Shypmate is a quick, low-cost international shipping solution that relies on everyday people to transport items from the U.S. to Ghana and Nigeria.

Why Ghana and Nigeria? Well, the founding team (pictured above) has members from both Ghana and Nigeria — two African markets they’re familiar with and have a need for this kind of service, Shypmate co-founder Perry Ogwuche told TechCrunch. On average, it takes shoppers Nigeria about five weeks to receive packages from the U.S., Shypmate says. It’s also a very costly process.

In Shypmate’s test with DHL shipping a $50 pair of shoes to Ghana, it took about a week and cost $250, Ogwuche said. With Shypmate, the cost of shipping is just $25. Shypmate guarantees deliveries within 5-10 days after receiving the item from the retailer, but has been averaging deliveries of just three to five days. Secondly, people in Nigeria and Ghana don’t have access to a lot of the items in the U.S. because some stores, like H&M and Zara, for example, won’t ship to those countries.

Read the full story here.