The concepts of disruption and innovation are skewed by the perception of investors. Most seem to believe if it's not a shiny, new mobile app that teenage girls can't quit SnapChatting about then it's a waste of time.
I invite you to flip that perception on its head and view things differently. There are so very few new ideas that are actually useful and functional. Most new product offerings are repackaged failed ideas that have better funding and marketing. Instead, I tell you the new innovative disruptions are those ideas that aggregate current offerings and connect new customers with existing services.
This is the space Matt Guarneri and his new mobile app ShipChat seek to work. By providing a platform where people can speak with an agent who helps by searching then booking shipping services all at once, Matt wants to take the mystery and frustration out of moving things around the Northeastern area of the USA.
Two Pain Points
Matt told me the two primary problems he solves with his mobile chat platform are pricing and logistics. At the heart of each issue is communication and clarity. Simplifying communication between the customer and shipper is achieved with ShipChat because every need is handled through the app. The clarity aspect comes from creating easily understood agreements for the customer fostered by connecting through the app.
The number one issue for customers when shipping anything is price. These issue arise, Matt said, because ten phone calls to various shippers can result in ten different prices for the same job. This is frustrating for customers because there is no way to compare offers and build any kind of trust.
Additionally, shippers often come with terms and variable pricing models based upon a variety of factors that seem random and are often difficult to understand. ShipChat and its simple interface helps solve this problem with one price for the whole project.
ShipChat simplifies logistics for user by focusing communication through its portal. This streamlines the entire process for both ends of the spectrum. The user and shipper each talk to one agent and terms are clear. This creates trust between the shipper and customer by making terms as clear and simple as possible.
This clarity and simplicity helps the shipper because many front line employees are immigrants and don't speak English well. Communication barriers can be easily overcome and trust maintained by spelling out contract terms in native languages and making deliveries and pickups more efficient.
Startup Funding And Cash Flow
ShipChat is three weeks old as of this post. When asked about backing, Matt said he has connections to venture capitalists that are interested, but it's really early in the process. Given his background in the auto shipping business, he knows what it takes to create and sustain cash flow before growing. Matt said he wants to build a business first then look for funding. It's definitely the best way to build a sustainable company.
Matt plans to generate cash flow for ShipChat by charging the customer a flat 9% commission on the total invoice. This is another part of the simplicity of the app. There are no cancellation fees, no cash on delivery, and no other hidden costs to uncover.
This connection came together in less than 48 hours. I met Matt on Twitter and asked for a Skype chat. He agreed. I would love to share a recording of our call, but my computer decided it was a good time to crash so I lost the entire video.
Matt is the idea and operations guy for this startup. His development team consists of two brothers. Octavian and Tudor Pavelescu co-founded a web and mobile design agency called Guanabana.
I like this idea and the founder for one simple reason: He's solving a problem in his own space. By utilizing a chat platform to form better connections and relationships, he's filling a need that has existed from the advent of selling stuff. He's fostering trust.
Selling trust and hope is never a bad thing as long as you deliver. Matt runs an auto shipping business in Brooklyn called Allegiant Auto Logistics. His experience in all aspects of the shipping business means he can and does consistently deliver trust and hope.
Globalization and connectivity have fragmented our lives in such a way that we have an over abundance of choice. Combine that with incomplete information about a particular industry, and misunderstandings grow and fester. Social media doesn't do anything to fix that.
ShipChat serves as a mediator between those who run shipping businesses and customers. As I stated before, aggregating current information and offerings into a streamlined platform is the new disruption. ShipChat seeks to simplify and demystify an industry by just being an advocate for people and connecting them with the right service on terms they can understand.