Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
If you travel internationally a lot, or have friends who do, then Friendshippr is a service you’ll want to take a look at — especially if you have a penchant for products and goods that are only available (or cheaper) in certain countries.
The service — which just launched for iOS — is a courier-by-friends service that uses Facebook to map out when and where friends are travelling to so you can ‘crowdship’ items through them.
You’ll need to invite friends to use the app, but once you have a decent network there you can broadcast your trip plans or shipment requests, while it will match up friends’ planned trips and locations with your cities of interest and requests.
There’s no cost involved — though the app prompts you to ‘reward’ friends for helping you out, perhaps by dinner, a gift or cash. Founder Ramy Assaf tells TNW the team is focused on growing its user base not monetization at this point, and it recently closed a $670,000 angel funding round from investors in Dubai — an impressive sum for the region.
Assaf believes the service can “grab significant traction in developing markets where institutional shipping lags behind,” and admits that, though not new, the current concept of crowdshipping is currently a “broken” one.
“We’ve made some major adjustments we believe will be a game changer,” he adds, pointing to a proprietary technology that matches shipping requests with friends based on location and upcoming travel plans.
Assaf says Friendshippr’s angel investors include executives from Uber, Airbnb and Google, while his cofounders have pedigree too: Mohamed and Ali Hamedi founded Game Minion, a mobile game development startup that sold to Corona Labs last year.
➤ Frienshippr for iOS | Android app coming soon
Image via Africa Studio / Shutterstock
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