We’ve all forgotten something at a friend’s house or somewhere like a restaurant or taxi cab before. For example, I forget my credit card at a bar last week. Getting your items back can be a hassle. That’s where the Utah based startup called PigeonShip comes in. The concept behind PigeonShip is simple: crowdsourced shipping or friendshipping. It’s basically a cross between Uber and FedEx. You post an item on PigeonShip and someone (a “Pigeon” courier) picks the item up and delivers it for you.
The founder of PigeonShip, Jared Overton, first announced the service in the fall of 2011 and it existed as a web-only based service. But big things are in the works for PigeonShip. In just the past few months he’s gotten additional funding, made several strategic partnerships and is launching new mobile apps for Android and iOS this summer. We had the opportunity to interview Mr. Overton about how he came up with the concept for PigeonShip and what’s next for the company.
How did you come up with the idea for PigeonShip?
Because it’s a market that needed to be created. With all the advancements in technology, little progress has been made in the delivery service industry. I believe good ideas stem from filling in the blank: Wouldn’t it be nice if __________. PigeonShip fills the blanks. Wouldn’t it be nice if (someone could pick it up). Wouldn’t it be nice if (I could make money off the extra space in my car). Wouldn’t it be nice if (I could get this picked up and delivered on the weekend). Wouldn’t it be nice if (I could buy something off classifieds without picking it up).
I founded the company in 2011, with transportation of items being phase 1, and transportation of people being phase 2, yes, before Uber was Uber. Since Uber leapfrogged my phase 1 idea and jumped to my phase 2 idea, I decided to make phase 1 a hit.
You beta launched PigeonShip in Utah. What’s next? National? International?
Yes. The PigeonShip model was built to scale exponentially. PigeonShip will spread across all local markets through the country and world. But first… Utah.
Why did you decide to launch the company in Utah?
Other than it being my home state, Utah offers a unique testing ground for an idea like PigeonShip. Utah is also slowly turning into Silicon Valley‘s biggest competitor. The region has been nicknamed Silicon Slopes because of all of the ski resorts surrounding the Salt Lake City area. As a result, the entire region is full of revolutionary startups and talented software engineers. Also the current interstate system provides a good pick up and drop off delivery channels. And my local connections have helped secure some key partnerships with big regional companies like Red Hanger Cleaners and KSL classifieds.
What are some of the strangest things shipped so far using PigeonShip?
The weirdest items PigeonShipped so far include gun safes and vintage vehicles, but probably the funniest is a man returning all his girlfriends belongings due to a ‘mishap’. PigeonShip is a great way to return something, especially when you don’t want to see the receiver.
What can your ‘Pigeons’ expect in revenue from shipping items? Should people consider being a Pigeon before picking up a pizza or newspaper delivery job?
PigeonShip doesn’t limit money that can be earned. However, the ‘income generating’ model of PigeonShip was not created to make someone rich, it was rather created to supplement hard working peoples incomes that commute back and forth. It wasn’t necessarily created so somebody could drive around all day and deliver items. This would simply be UPS. It takes very little effort to earn income. If you are responsible and good with people, you will earn money.
Are there restrictions on what can and cannot be PigeonShipped?
Yes. You can PigeonShip just about anything except illegal items and typical items you couldn’t take on a plane. Guns, drugs, gasoline, etc. All of these item restrictions are found under the Help tab on PigeonShip.com.
Special thanks to Jared Overton for taking the time to answer our interview questions. PigeonShip is a great concept. It’s one of those ideas that we all wish we had thought of first. We look forward to hearing more about PigeonShip in the near future. You can learn more about friendshipping on PigeonShip.com and keep an eye out for their new mobile apps later this summer.