Crowdshipping Startup TinyCarrier Is Harnessing The Power Of The Crowd In A Brilliant And Innovative Way
I LOVE this concept. Having experienced the pains of trying to transport personal items internationally firsthand, I am certain that we are about to witness major disruption in the shipping industry. The old ways of doing things don’t work.
It’s crazy expensive to send so much as a letter let alone goods oversees. Pack a little extra in your suitcase when flying? The fees are ridiculous.
If you haven’t heard of it already, allow me the pleasure of introducing TinyCarrier, a web service that connects travelers with other people who have a need to send or receive things. TinyCarrier harnesses the power of the crowd in ingenious fashion, bringing us crowdshipping.
Travelers packing light who may want to make a little extra cash, do a favor, or meet new people, can carry stuff (legal stuff!) on the behalf of owners. Ordinary folk that have left something behind or would like to send a gift without emptying their savings, can do so while saving a bundle. Brilliant!
Co-founder of TinyCarrier, Michael Bøcker-Larsen, told KillerStartups more in this exclusive interview:
What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?
TinyCarrier is a web service that connects travelers and people who have a need to send or receive things. It could be personal stuff like books and clothing, a product that you have someone buy for you because it is not available in your country. Transporting items for other people is not a new concept – we just make it safe, social, and global.
This is not a package/parcel service. Carriers will be packing the items themselves in their own luggage. Carrier and requester are responsible for reporting goods in customs. The service will support this by managing information and communication. The service will rely on rankings and testimonials, similar to AirBnB and Couchsurfing.
We will eventually be providing an API to allow for blogs, apps, and curator services to make use of it as well. For people thinking commercialization of drug mules, silk road, etc., that everyone is a criminal, try thinking that they are not (because their aren’t) and think about the benefits.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?
[TinyCarrier] embraces the global community of the 21st century. TinyCarrier is social and it focuses on consumption – travel and transport are just the means.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
I was looking for something that seemed insignificant – tiny – and that had to do with transporting things around, a carrier.
What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the world-wide web?
C64 – got it for Christmas. Dad placed it outside my door, causing me to stumble over it in the morning. I got on the Internet when it arrived in Denmark. Before that, I was on BBSs.
What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?
8-9a.m. Work 10+ hours.
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
I live in Nepal, but I’m from Denmark, so kind of living a vacation.
When do your best ideas come to you?
Dreams and when drunk.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
2 co-founders, and now we are 7.
Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.
Keeping perpetual motivation in a team in many locations, where few have actually met each other in real life.
How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?
Go to the rooftop to get some sun or, if it is night, then sit in front of the fire. The tasks that you realize you have to be able to handle, because there is no one else to do it, can be frustrating. But only momentarily.
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
We are all located in different locations around the world. I work from a restaurant/café/hangout. I like seeing and meeting people, it fuels my imagination and motivation. Music – hell yeah.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
Dead or really flourishing.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running?
People who successfully open a business with a really simple idea or who follow a dream and turn out somewhere else than expected.
How’d you fund this venture?
Currently self-funded. Hoping for investment.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Be clear about how much time each of you are going to dedicate.
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
Start small, but don’t loose sight of future steps.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
Go diving somewhere. Perhaps learn to surf. See more of Asia.
Top websites you couldn’t live without and why?
- Flipboard – beautifully designed and very practical.
- Foursquare – combination of registering things and gaming + really nice UI.
- News360 – great for news and many different views on the same story.
- Duolingo – fresh approach to learning through games, beautiful design.
Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?
- bignic – great music / gfx / gaming and programming
- Fabio – excellent designer, coder
- Lea Verou – coolest girl there is
Where else can our readers find you online?
TinyCarrier is currently in private beta (at press time). To request beta access and to sign up for email updates, go to TinyCarrier.com and enter your email address.