Problems: It is difficult to receive packages from online orders in large cities, especially in places where there is no active doorman to receive deliveries on behalf of residents. If the recipient is not present at the time of delivery, which is usually between 8-5, a slip is left on the door and the package is returned to the delivery center. Due to labor constraints, USPS and UPS are not able to deliver at the end of the day.
Jesse Kaplan moved to New York in the summer of 2013 and immediately encountered this problem. After the package was lost, he waited in line at the “local” post office, trying to recover the items he had ordered online. “There was a big disconnect from the online shopping experience and the offline shipping experience.” He decided to tackle this problem head on.
The solution: Jesse Kaplan, founder and CEO of Parcel, describes the business as an “off-the-clock delivery service for online shoppers.” Parcel Hand delivers packages to customers at their doorstep within one hour window when they are available, be it during regular business hours or evenings.
Even at the age of 23, Parcel is not Jesse’s first entrepreneurial venture. While head of economics at Harvard, Jesse started Cabot Cafe, the only student-run coffee shop on campus. After graduation, Jesse started a tutoring business, which he left to focus on parcels full-time.
Before jumping into the parcel with both feet, he had 73 meetings with New York City residents who do not have a doorman in the apartment complex. The meetings determined whether the problem he felt was common and whether the business would be a preferred service for his target market. He quickly realized that this problem affected him more than just himself and he started following Parcel as a business.
Jesse rented a mailing address from a co-working space and started an MVP version of the business where packages were sent to his clients. He manually notifies each customer when their packages arrive with a text-message and then plans his or her journey and spends every night on the subway with the package-filled canvas bag. Jesse described it as a “thrilling experience” and noted that it allows him to build strong personal relationships with his primary customers as he delivers on his own.
If you hear the words package and fun in the same sentence, you’re probably not talking about cardboard box shipping – unless you’re talking about parcels. I was skeptical when Jesse mentioned that one of the goals of the parcel is to make the process of package acceptance more enjoyable and even more fun for the recipient. Although I’m glad when a package arrives safely, I never thought of this process as fun.
How can you survive a seemingly dull process?
As mentioned earlier, each customer is sent a text notification and is given a one hour window for delivery. In addition to the overall improvement of package delivery customer service, Parcel has partnered with other companies to provide limited edition free items for customers. Customers have just been offered a free pair of nice laundry socks for a week.
Even enjoying the traditional postal services that Jesse and Parcel are doing Asked if Parcel was seen as a competitor for services such as the U.S. Postal Service and UPS, Jesse explained how traditional carriers appreciate what they do. “Theoretically, we are actually making the operations of traditional carriers much more efficient. In the past, they have repeatedly tried to deliver to buildings they have never been able to enter – wasting time and money on missing package slips across the city and then sending those packages back to the shipment center. “
Q: What drives you as an entrepreneur?
A: For me, it’s really about finding a problem that no one has solved before and finding the easiest, clearest solution.
Parcel is exactly that – a simple and clean solution that has developed an outdated and incomplete process for both the provider (USPS and UPS) and the customer. What started in the early 20’s – turned into a high-growth NYC startup with miss packages that is likely to affect millions. Jesse Kaplan is set out to solve a frustrating problem, and it’s safe to say he’s delivered.
Listen to Jesse Kaplan through the audio of the full interview below!
– Q: What is your best advice for young entrepreneurs?
A: Set up a really strong support system around you. In difficult days or when trying to make a difficult decision, it is essential to have a network of founders, advisors, family or friends that you can call for anything. Starting a company is always going to be stressful and probably always more lonely than other ventures, but by having a team of people you can count on, you can take advantage of that network and make sure your experience is as positive and effective as possible.
– How many hours a week do you work at Parcel? I think it’s safe to say that I spend at least 100 hours a week on parcels.
– How many hours do you sleep a night? Recently, I would say 8-9 hours. It took me a long time to realize that being deprived of sleep did more than make me tired. This has made me a much less efficient executor and manager.
– What do you do to relax in your limited leisure time? I’m obsessed with New York City. Anytime I wander around different neighborhoods. Just walking around town is one of my favorite things.
– What percentage of people thought you shared this idea with a good idea versus a crazy idea? The vast majority idea was really supportive. Anyone who lived without a doorman immediately realized this and thought it looked brilliant.
– If you could add an entrepreneur from around the world to your team in Parcel, who would it be and why? The best entrepreneurs may not often be great employees; One of the entrepreneurs I really admire is Steve Jobs.
– How can people find out more about you and the parcel? They can visit our website at FromParcel.com.
Listen to the full interview here: