If you want to ship something large--say, an old vintage military tank--where do you go? Santa Barbara-based ShipHawk (www.shiphawk.com) is looking to solve the problem of pretty much shipping anything large (like cars and furniture) or unique, with its online shipping service--think "Kayak" for shipping. We spoke with co-founder Aaron Freeman to learn more about ShipHawk's services and what it does--and how the company actually has been helping people ship military tanks via its service.
What is ShipHawk?
Aaron Freeman: ShipHawk is the easiest way to ship anything. It's kind of what Kayak is for travel, but it's for shipping. A lot of people ask if it's FedEx, UPS, USPS, and yes, we do small parcels under 150 pounds. But, the main value of ShipHawk is when you try to ship a larger item. We can ship anything, no matter how big it is. We're actually, right now, in the process of shipping a whole bunch of tanks, from Littlefield Tank Auction -- you know, Army tanks and the like -- and we also ship a lot of furniture, artwork, and antiques, anything that is not really trivial to ship. One of the big advantages of ShipHawk is you can ship unpacked items. Currently, in the industry there are some websites to ship things, but they already have to be packed or palletized for shipping. We'll actually give you an instant quote for both packing and shipping any item.
How did you get into this?
Aaron Freeman: My partner and I actually owned the same, retail shipping store. He owned it for awhile, and then he sold it to me. In the process of running that shipping store, we got to hear about people's shipping problems, which ranged from shipping a letter to shipping autos or whatever it was they had to ship. We got pretty good at it, and got requests from all over the country and all over the world to ship things. So, we realized there was a need for a better way to doing it. Even now, people will waste their time with quotes, call around, and have to way for a day, and they'll spend twenty or thirty minutes themselves trying to calculate all the requirements and pricing for packing and shipping. With our software, it does it all in an instant.
Who is the ideal customer for your site?
Aaron Freeman: Anyone that ships thing that is not shipping a bunch of widgets. A very large company shipping truckloads of stuff every day is not our customer. Anyone shipping a unique group of items, or different things all the time, or larger things, those are our ideal customers.
How are you funded?
Aaron Freeman: We're very close to a final close off a Series A, we'll be announcing that soon. Currently we're backed by a group of angels and Siemer Ventures in a seed round.
What is your geographic coverage right now?
Aaron Freeman: Mostly we service the continental US. We have the capability to ship worldwide. Our automated, instant quoting system is limited to the US only, however.
It sounds like you work with a lot of partners to get this done, can you talk about how that works?
Aaron Freeman: We primarily provide the technology and customer acquisition. We do, however, own the transaction for most of our shipping. We generally take commissions from the carrier or agent we're using to do packing or crating or other services required.
What's your big goal for the next year?
Aaron Freeman: We just cracked $100,000 of revenue each month, and this year we're on track to $1.7M in revenue, next year $5M is our goal, we're working towards that.