Loopie launched two years ago as way to connect people who don’t want to do their own laundry with people who will do it for a fee. Now the people behind that Seattle startup have rolled out Shippie, a delivery service that’ll get stuff across town for people who are unable to leave the house.
The new business, from Loopie co-founder and CEO John Vincent Lee, is born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, sheltering in place and the need to get items to a friend or family member with ease.
Shippie is available in all major U.S. markets and operates like an Uber ride for your bag of groceries or that roll of toilet paper that just has to be in the hands of a friend in the next hour. Shippie won’t move your couch or other big items.
The peer-to-peer service, catering to an area that typically ranges up to 15 miles, is built on the same software platform that was developed for Loopie, and leverages various existing third-party logistics networks in order to fulfill pickups and deliveries. The price is about the same as an Uber ride, depending on the city.
And Shippie is promoting a no-touch pick-up and delivery style similar to what food and grocery delivery services are doing to limit COVID-19 exposure. Items should be left in a secure building or on a porch, for example.
“When you apply your passion and purpose, take risks and iterate rapidly, anything is possible,” Lee said. “We believe that everyone should have access to the technologies capable of connecting us during these times of great adversity.”
For its part, Loopie has been able to continue operating because laundry is considered an essential service, and the startup is taking precautions to ensure the safety of customers, washers, operations team, and staff, according to Loopie Chief of Staff Chet Selis. The lockdown in Seattle has led to a reduction in orders from commercial clients who are shuttered, such as barbershops, spas and gyms, but the platform is still being used by other businesses and standard customers.
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There are currently 15 people working on the two companies and there have not been layoffs as a result of the ongoing health crisis. And Shippie has already attracted attention.
“The response has been great so far,” Selis said. “We’ve already had orders come in from Connecticut, Texas, Oregon, Idaho, New Jersey, Wisconsin, California and Washington in the few days since we went live. Items sent have included toilet paper, hand sanitizer, food, and books.”
Selis added that the hope is for Shippie’s success to demonstrate the power of what was built for Loopie, and how the software can be easily applied to other market verticals.