This was the late November when we were travelling to London, six of us had landed in Stansted and took a bus to Liverpool Station in London. Six people. And six suitcases. Plane, bus, train, rain, hotel, tea. Usual stuff.
What I truly enjoy about London is its vibe. It’s so special that I never get enough of it. What I truly hate about London and any other big city is the overcrowded public transport with its bag, suitcases, huge backpacks. Well, you might say, that’s the part of the game. Is it truly?
As low-cost travellers, we were mostly eye-shopping, limited by our eight kilograms limits. Until my wife saw THE THING. It was a relatively large wooden sculpture at the small antique shop in the middle of Portobello Road. She immediately realized that this was something that our family needs badly so she proposed that THIS could actually be my birthday present. Really? Do we need it? Of course darling! (You better not argue with interior architect!) Just reminded me that happy wife usually means a happy life. From there on things went south, as the old lady at the shop was not able to quote or arrange an international shipping on Saturday afternoon. All my efforts got no results and the statue stayed in the Metropol.
Does it ring a bell, my friends? How often had it happened to you when something desirable didn’t travel back home with you just because you didn’t have a simple and affordable shipping solution?
It had been a story of my life. Until the decision was made to change it once and for all. Shipitwise idea was born and the team came together to change the way travelers experience logistics.
This had been a bumpy road with ups and downs
However, if I should start it all over again I definitely would. After 3 months in Startup Wise Guys accelerator in Tallinn, we hit the road and raised our first money with friends and family via Funderbeam. This gave us an opportunity to build the product and go to market. For almost 3 summer months we were visiting several startup conferences, pitching, pitching, pitching. By autumn we had hundreds of business customers using our service.
But we realized soon that that was a major fuck up as trying to create revenue we actually had betrayed our initial idea helping travellers. Servicing local businesses we were able to make money but we were not able to scale. We were in the wrong sandbox competing against the most of our shipping partners. This was the hard decision and a leap of faith, as our new platform was just released and we were not sure if there is a true demand on the travel market for the service we were offering to people. Shipitwise had what it takes to build a great product and sell and market it. So with the short runway, we initiated the second round of fundraising on Funderbeam based on pure faith and team spirit. The round came together and we were obliged to win.
Thanks to the team effort we made Estonian flagship airline Nordica the first airline in the World offering travelers Hands-Free-Baggage service. Since then there were some changes in the team. We lost some team members from sales and marketing. At the same time, several new people joined the team. We got great developers from India and South-Africa, bright young marketing lady from Lithuania. The assignments were redistributed inside the team. I soon find myself in strategic sales and am enjoying every moment communicating with Shipitwise new and future customers. Nordica was the first airline on our list. Today AirBaltic had joined. There are Lufthansa, Polish LOT, Finnair, SAS, EasyJet, RyanAir, and others to be on-boarded in order to change the way people travel.
Where are we now and where are we going
Just within Q1 2017, we have covered with Shipitwise Hands-Free-Baggage service over 75% of the Baltics travel market by partnering with great companies and travel agencies in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. we have also established a partnership with Travelport.com – second largest marketplace for travel agencies in the world. This gives us the global exposure.
Of course, the integration will take time, but it’s worth it!
Our shipping partners are the largest and most trustworthy transportation firms such as FedEx, UPS, TNT, ACE Logistics and many others. We are constantly looking for the new partners across the globe. We want to open new routes and offer better and more efficient service to our customers via our partners – airlines and travel companies. Very soon you’ll be able to find a shipitwise.com link on most of the largest airplane tickets selling platforms. We are open for the strategic partnerships and investment from industry insiders, VC-s and angels who wanna stand up against excess luggage and participate in a global Revolution. Our vision is luggage-free airports and cities. Our product makes this possible already today and our first target is the city where this all had started more than two years ago – London.