Tell us the story of how and why you started your company.
We saw an opportunity to help retailers compete with Amazon while still owning their customer experience, by fitting into their supply chain and giving them end-to-end control. To understand the pressure retailers face, in 2014 Amazon lost $241 million on $89 billion in sales. They have created online shopping expectations that companies, small and large, can’t compete with. We decided to build a last-mile delivery model that leveled the playing field for brick and mortar retailers and do something Amazon can’t do, deliver on the free same-day shipping promise while turning a profit.
Mark has a background in accounting, finance, formerly working at Ernst and Young and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, as well as a background in e-commerce where he worked at Best Buy Corporate and owned the accounting for Best Buy’s dotcom business. During this time, he noticed the negative impact ‘free, two day shipping’ had on retailers’ margins.
From here, Mark partnered with Alissa, a friend from college, who works as a User & Customer Experience Designer and has a passion for solving customer experience problems across a variety of industries. We spent the next 6 months building our minimal viable product and researching the market. We analyzed retailers, consumers, and the pricing pressures they face when selling and buying online and it was clear – customers want free shipping and they want the product as fast as possible. It was also clear that retailers understood these demands, but they had no way of delivering on these demands without losing money.
Once we understood the need, we validated our proposition with local retailers in Minneapolis, signing up 15 partners in the first three months (and have since closed our beta program).
What’s your most recent success or milestone hit?
Our first 100-package-day was on March 18th, 2016. And our driver on-boarding is now fully automated. BoxHawk v2.0 is in final testing stages, looking to release early May; it includes many customer software features and automation improvements.
Where do you see your startup in 1 year?
In one year, we see BoxHawk with three to five marquee retailer partnerships, as well as expanding to new cities. Additionally, we see ourselves developing more products for our smaller retail partners that will help them more easily and effectively manage their dotcom businesses.