It has been so easy and so fast to exchange or get access to information for decades, but so hard when it comes to physical goods or things.
It seems that the most heated technology race of 2015 is not about sending rockets into outer space. It’s all about who can deliver nappies or other goods to your door faster and for less money.
Major players like Google, Amazon and Ebay are on it, but do they have the clue? Well, it seems that Sydney-based startup Sherpa do.
Launched last Tuesday, Sherpa promises to deliver its users anything from specific stores or locations within two hours, with a focus on shared economy and local community to make it happen.
Covering Sydney CBD and Eastern Suburbs – from Newtown and Pyrmont to Bondi and Maroubra – if the item is available, Sherpa delivers it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Users tell the app what items they need, and Sherpa send someone to go get it and deliver it.
Not only does the startup intend to disrupt how people send packages to each other in the same city, but it’s also offering a ‘purchase and delivery’ option, allowing users to request a dedicated ‘Sherpa’ to shop for them and deliver.
How it works
From Sherpa’s mobile app, you can choose between ‘simple pickup & delivery’ and ‘purchase & delivery’, then enter your item description and both a starting and a destination address, at which point the app will tell customers how much it will cost, along with couriers – aka Sherpas – that are currently available in the area (all via a location-based system). Users can then choose to accept or modify the delivery.
Once confirmed, the app pings all available Sherpas close to the user’s location. Users are notified once the Sherpa accepts the delivery. There’s a final validation of the payment and then users receive live delivery updates.
Users remain in total control of the process, as they are able to contact their Sherpa throughout.
Sherpa operates at the intersection of local commerce and delivery. With the app, users can order from a range of restaurants and stores in the city, and have items delivered in less than two hours. Order from Gelato Messina, Bourke Street Bakery, Zara, Aquabumps, the Apple Store – you name it. Sherpa’s fleet can purchase your items and deliver them; payment is done entirely through the app, so no cash hassles.
Currently, there is no startup in Australia offering the same extensive functionality as Sherpa. There are several ‘task’ startups, but no other company has the same product capabilities and focus on local commerce.
This concept pushes back the limit of shared economy even further and fits well in the Australian market. The service is available in Sydney (more cities to come), with over 50 retail stores already on-board, bringing ease to the buying process.
Sherpa relies on the crowd to make deliveries. Almost anyone can become a Sherpa and – most importantly – make money. With a delivery price from $5 up to $30 for users, Sherpas can expect to make double the Australian minimum wage, while keeping 100 per cent flexibility on their schedule.
It assigns the order to the best possible driver, as seen with Uber. Sherpa is essentially aiming to match up people with time on their hands – students, part-time workers or jobseekers – with busy urban professionals, time-poor parents, or those with limited mobility.
Sydney no longer has to envy the Silicon Valley way of life – and this is just the beginning. Sherpa is planning to release an Android version of the app in the coming month, as well as a number of new features.
Mathieu is the Founder of Sherpa.