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Why We Started Shipmates

In a burger joint in BGC, I caught up with my childhood friend, Josh, who had just reached out to me on Twitter when I had been tweeting a lot about tech. He said he wanted to do something in the space and I was the only one he knew. We’d come a long way from being neighbours in our youth. Josh had just parted with SM, one of the largest mall retailers in the Philippines, while I had just finished taking time off from building e-commerce startup, shirt.ly. After sharing our experiences from previous stints, it became clear to us that we were both raring to start something.

Back in 2017, e-commerce was still developing. Lazada was already there, and Shopee was just getting started. But for most retail businesses, they only had a website of their brand and almost no way for customers to buy their products online.

After talking about which pillars of e-commerce we could tackle (platform, payments, and logistics), we realized how logistics was and still is a tough sector that is ripe for disruption. While there are definitely more pillars to ecommerce such as customer service, social media marketing, and what not, we honestly felt that logistics was just too ancient.

We heard stories of brands calling up couriers everyday just to schedule a pickup. People had to line up in an LBC or DHL branch just to drop off orders. And for the more experienced sellers, they still had to export spreadsheets from one ecommerce platform, painstakingly edit the sheet, make a new file, copy and paste rows, and then upload it on to a couriers website. All that trouble just to tell a courier, “We need you to pick up these orders from our warehouse and deliver it to our customers”.

In the US and China, where e-commerce industries are booming, you’d clearly see how shipping isn’t a headache for them as much as it is for us here in the Philippines. Amazon and Cainaio can get you the best shipping rates or the fastest courier for your order and sometimes deliver it to you within the day!

This is something that should exist here in the Philippines!

During the pandemic, Josh and I worked on Shipmates, an automated shipping platform for small and medium businesses where you can:

  1. Ship with multiple couriers.
  2. Book standard, on-demand and next-day shipments.
  3. Import orders straight from Shopify (and soon other sales channels).
  4. Print out waybills.
  5. And track all your orders in one place.

This August, we’re excited to announce that we’re running a closed beta of Shipmates and if you’re a small or medium business struggling with shipping, sign up for our waitlist!