ShipLnyc is a startup that seeks to be the “Expedia of logistics.”
ShipLync, described by a co-founder as the ‘Expedia of logistics,’ provides a real-time system for the most efficient and least expensive shipping processes
A logistics start-up seeks help adding new customers. — Dan Beyers
The entrepreneurs: Somil Desai earned his undergraduate degree in information systems and completed a dual MS/MBA program in marketing management. He went on to start his career in digital marketing and analytics. His career shifted paths when he was introduced to the domestic and international trade industry.
Somil’s wife, Saureen Naik Desai, earned dual degrees in business finance and marketing management. She comes from a family corporation that included about 25 companies under one parent organization, encompassing plastics engineering, manufacturing, recycling and exporting to overseas customers. She has more than 12 years of expertise in international trade and logistics,
Somil and Saureen realized that a major weak spot for many organizations is logistics management. The process of managing shipments through domestic ground transportation, air freight and ocean freight containers can involve numerous calls and emails with brokers and carriers, redundant paperwork and a constant need for tracking to make sure goods were on time and on route.
“That is a cost that can ultimately be controlled if done the correct way and analyzed properly,” Somil says.
By 2014, Somil and his team built a platform to manage the shipping process. The couple then decided to follow their dream to start a tech company, and in 2016 they spun out the technology into a new commercialized platform, ShipLync.
The pitch, Somil Desai, co-founder and chief executive: “ShipLync connects customers who need to move freight quickly at the most competitive rates with service providers — transportation carriers or brokers like UPS, CH Robinson, XPO Logistics, etc. We’re like the Expedia of logistics. We also have a Yelp-like review section where customers can rate service providers.
“ShipLync gives service providers access to more deals, and companies that need to ship things get quick quotes and better rates because providers are bidding against each other for business. Service providers use our realtime platform to upload all the necessary paperwork, send realtime tracking updates and manage invoices. This streamlines the need for numerous back-andforth phone calls and emails. Anyone managing shipments domestically or internationally can use our platform to send out a request for quotes. Once the shipping request goes out, it’s quick and easy for providers in our network to receive the request and offer onthe-spot quotes from their desktop or mobile devices so they never miss opportunities for business. We charge service providers a small percentage of the business they book on our platform.
“Right now, we’re earning about $1,000 a day in revenue, and we are working to double that by June. We want to expand our office, hire the right talent and grow from there.
“As we grow, a lot of our challenges are with getting shippers on board with our technology. We have had good success rolling out to tech-savvy service provider start-ups — Uber, Transfix.io and Cargo Chief are all using our platform. But much of the logistics world is still very antiquated. We also have to educate the shippers to make them see the value we bring and how we can maximize their cost savings and the service providers in our system have been vetted. How can we get more users onto our platform?”
The advice, Elana Fine, executive director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland: “Don’t worry yet about the tech holdouts — you’re still so early in the business that you need to focus on your earliest adopters. At this stage, it will be very challenging to try to sell to shippers who currently rely only on paper and pen. Instead, focus on your current users and try to learn as much as you can about the daily transactions taking place on your platform now. Who are those customers and what can you learn from them? That can be a great indicator of where to find similar customers.
“The shippers currently using ShipLync could be your best marketing to get new customers. They could be very influential to other potential customers. Call on them to recommend you to others in their industry. Try to grow virally that way. You could even consider offering them some incentives for referrals.”
The reaction, Somil Desai: “You are absolutely right — there is a big market out there of people ready for our technology. Our current customers have given us great testimonials, and we’ve created marketing documents based on them. We’ll continue to expand those efforts.” Looking for some advice on a new business, or need help fixing an existing one? Contact us at email@example.com.
A shipping container is lifted in Hamburg. Managing shipments through domestic ground transportation, air freight and ocean freight containers can be complicated and time-consuming. ShipLync, a new commercialized platform, helps to streamline the process.