Sydney is once again gracing us with apocalypse-like weather, and the only people who are smiling in our shared office space in Surry Hills are the Sherpa team members.
We know it all too well: crappy weather = people barricading themselves inside = deliveries. Everyone is pumped.
Sherpa’s an online platform that solves on-demand delivery; our tagline is ‘Everyone’s Private Courier’. Individuals & businesses can use the service for everyday errands, if they forgot something, or if they just can’t be in two places at once.
Sherpa delivers a wide range of products: flowers, cakes, take-away food, nappies, dry cleaning, alcohol, grocery items… The list goes on and grows every day.
More ‘peculiar’ items we’ve delivered include prescriptions for things like Viagra, condoms, face paint, water pistols … We’ve all had specific needs at some point, right?
These deliveries will be made to individuals as well as businesses, and will all be carried out by our Sherpas (drivers). The average cost of a delivery is $20 and while we have a 2-hour delivery guarantee, we average around 90 minutes.
These Sherpas come from a variety of different backgrounds: we have uni students, mums, even some spritely retirees, once again the list goes on… but they all have a few things in common; they have a car, spare time and want to make some extra cash.
A lot has happened since we set out on our adventure seven months ago, which we discussed here on Techly right at the start of our Sherpa journey.
November 2014, I joined Mathieu Cornillon and Bastien, the other founders, when Sherpa was just a lounge room business.
Since then our journey has been a relatively smooth one, with no major glitches but of course there are always challenges; finding the appropriate talent to grow the business in both tech and sales was not easy but along the way we have managed to build a really strong team.
When the business started growing significantly, we had concerns about how the Sherpa and user marketplace would evolve: will the Sherpa community grow as fast the user community? How will we balance the ecosystem and what levers can we use to correct it?
Fortunately, we pre-empted those issues early on and made sure the logistics side of the business was in good hands. We were also pleasantly surprised to see how balanced the whole ecosystem was without too much interference on our end.
Since getting seed investment of $500,000, Sherpa has grown substantially and is now offering on-demand delivery on a national scale, across Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
In that time, we’ve also managed to do a full revamp of our iOS app and launch the Android platform, all the while continuing to acquire users and Sherpas at an exponential rate.
We’ve signed on a huge amount of small and medium businesses, mostly focusing on florists, cake shops, and retailers whose business provide a steady flow of deliveries every day.
And the future looks bright: it appears as though Australia has woken up to the on-demand economy and we are in the right place at the right time. We’re not seeing signs of this trend slowing down.
We’ve entered an era where convenience is paramount and thanks to changing attitudes and technology to support that, Sherpa is very well positioned for success. Oh, the places we’ll go!
Ben Nowlan is a co-founder of Sherpa and wrote this guest feature Techly by invitation.