01 Sep 2014
New Idea: On-Demand Package Deliveryby Francis StorrsTopics:
As Paul Moskowitz’s wedding approached last winter, his fiancé started receiving a deluge of gifts at her apartment. At least that was the idea. What she actually received, because she worked late and didn’t have a doorman, was a stream of “we-missed-you” notices from FedEx and UPS, including some saying the package had been returned to sender. “It became a huge issue for us,” says Moskowitz (HBS 2015), then a first-year MBA student. “I figured this has got to be a problem for other people, and there has to be a more cost-effective and efficient way to solve it.”
For his FIELD 3 project this spring, Moskowitz and five classmates launched a startup they call Boxxify to provide a solution. E-commerce customers have their packages delivered to Boxxify, which, for a $7 fee (regardless of number of items), drops them off with customers by appointment between 7 p.m. and 12 midnight. The classmates in Professor Steven Rogers’s course—Moskowitz, Mike Lloyd, Nimi Katragadda, RJ Price, Stephen Schleicher, and Bharat Kilaru—started planning the company in February and were able to launch in three months. In that time, they used their $5,000 in FIELD 3 financing to build a website, target potential customers on Facebook and LinkedIn, and purchase mover’s dollies to help them make deliveries.
The cofounders successfully tested Boxxify throughout April and May in Boston’s Back Bay, where their research showed only 3 percent of buildings have doormen. They plan to relaunch the service when they return to campus this month. On the to-do list? Forging partnerships with e-commerce retailers (which might offer a Boxxify option at checkout) and car services like Uber (whose drivers could deliver packages on the side). Plus, to protect their backs they’ll need to take another look at their weight-limit policy. “Our dollies certainly came in handy,” Moskowitz says.