The old-school courier flight, once a way to allow businesses to patch up holes in their delivery flows and individuals to sometimes get ultra-cheap flights, is sadly a thing of the past. Companies have been able to route their goods seamlessly via the web and baggage restrictions on planes after 9/11 have made plane travel with goods that are not your own risky. However, a new service called Friendshippr could enlist people as couriers not for large, confused organization but for those with friends who travel frequently.
Crowdshipping, founder Ramy Assaf told TheNextWeb, is currently quite “broken,” but he has lots of ideas on how to fix it. The app, which just launched for iOS, uses a proprietary technology that matches shipping requests with friends’ location data and travel plans. There is no monetary exchange involved in the service (yet?), but in the spirit of the sharing economy, Friendshippr encourages you to reward your ‘shippr’ with a gift or a meal. Though the app is not yet available for Android, that and other improvements will likely arrive soon, as the company just closed a $670,000 angel funding round in Dubai, a high sum for the region. Other backers for the project hail from Uber, Airbnb and Google.
Assaf, who also successfully founded Game Minion and sold it to Corona Labs last year, hopes that the service is will be about more than just getting real Swiss chocolate shipped to the U.S.; it can “grab significant traction in developing markets where institutional shipping lags behind.” Where people have smartphones, they have power.