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LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Britain’s online buyers and sellers, hesitant to deal with large, unusual or delicate items due to high transport cost and hassle, can now turn on the television for inspiration and know-how.
Shipping Wars UK, the new show on Channel 4 that premiered early February, is lifting the lid on how the eBay generation can embrace transport of sometimes seemingly un-shippable and eccentric purchases. The programme follows a group of delivery trucks and vans as they criss-cross Britain, competing to collect and drop off some of the most gob-smacking goods for UK’s online-buying generation. Some loads seen on the show include two giant Gruffalo sculptures, 300,000 live bees, a vintage military Landrover, a 20-foot sailboat, and three priceless London-bound racing cars.
Working from home I got hooked on watching the daytime series, especially the episode with the precocious kid who upon delivery of his model railway layout and told “What we want is a five star rating” told the gobsmacked couriers “What you’ll get is four star feedback” and refused to budge on his decision.
It’s interesting to watch the program and check out the uShip site at the same time and Jack Aldridge, country manager for uShip UK agrees saying “We definitely see the two-screen phenomenon going on here.
It’s not just eBay buyers looking for ways to get large purchases shipped either, transporters are also watching and registering on uShip looking for additional loads. If you’re interested in getting a load shipped around the country, uShip have just relaunched their home page and some sections of our site to be able to let shipping customers and online buyers can get a free price estimate WITHOUT listing a shipment. During the rest of the year when the city isn't awash with visitors and entertainment and tech moguls, Austin possesses a thriving startup scene that has launched a number of tech IPOs, including HomeAway and Bazaarvoice. Mashable spoke with Austin tech players, from well-known ones like digital coupon giant RetailMeNot to up-and-comers like online organic grocer Greenling, to get a feel for the city's best restaurants and what to order at those eateries.
RetailMeNot has become one of the web's largest coupon emporiums largely because its deals get to know you. Favorite dish: Happy taco with seasoned shredded chicken, sauteed mushrooms, melted Jack cheese, cilantro and onion.
Bigcommerce has become an ascendent name in the ecommerce SaaS space, thanks in large part to a $40 million investment this year from Steve Case's venture capital firm,Revolution. Startup says: "Shoal Creek Saloon holds a special place in uShip lore," says uShip Founder and CEO Matt Chasen. Startup says: "Something for everyone and a generous wine list too," says VolunteerSpot founder and CEO Karen Bantuveris. Startup says: "It's hard to believe that I am recommending chicken, but it is really that good," says Indeed's Senior Vice President of Marketing Paul D'Arcy. Startup says: "It's amazing and the sauce has a little extra kick to it," says Greenling co-founder and CEO Mason Arnold.
It’s these oddball shipments, and uShip’s online reverse bidding structure—think an eBay-type environment where people post their loads and carriers vie for those loads—that creates the drama on the show. And that’s where the uShip story is now headed, according to its founder and chief executive officer Matt Chasen.
Building the structure for an LTL spot market place meant expanding the platform. “We’ve added different formats, because the auction bidding format is good for hard-to-rate shipments, like heavy equipment moves,” Chasen said. Where uShip differs from traditional load boards is in the pricing. “Load boards have subscription fees based on how much you use it,” Chasen said.
Chasen said the site is seeing more business from freight brokers, as well. “As a pure marketplace, brokers are able to join uShip as service providers,” he said. Chasen co-founded the company in 2001 along with partners Jay Manickam and Mickey Millsap while in business school at the University of Texas. The company is quick to say it’s not a TMS provider either, but the marketplace is intended to plug neatly into such systems. “The typical shipper lacks a TMS,” Chasen said.
The uShip user interface, meanwhile, is intended to be easy to use and familiar to those accustomed to transacting online for things like travel. “It’s designed for shippers to receive quotes and bids,” Chasen said.
Shopping for vehicles, boats, home appliances, and other large items online used to be a hassle for the buyer when it came time to arrange for shipping. Through relationships with carriers, some merchants began to include shipping costs in the online transaction, but some uncertainty remained for the buyer.
Later this year and throughout next year, uShip plans to expand its eBay relationship by adding instant market rates for more traditional less-than-truckload shipments.
To make this online shipping transaction possible, uShip added a new service last year, Instant Rates for LTL Carriers. Shippers — be they businesses or consumers — can choose instant rates from the uShip platform while shopping on eBay and other e-commerce sites.
The rates listed in uShip’s Instant Rates for LTL Carriers platform are 100 percent carrier capacity, he says. AutoRemarketing Magazine, the preeminent publication in the after-market vehicle industry, has recognized uShip in its 'The Power 300' rankings.
As described by AutoRemarketing, The Power 300 is a compilation and listing of the most influential, innovative, impactful, and, of course, powerful companies doing business in the pre-owned market today (non-dealers).
Curran McCready worked sunup to sunset in a remote Nicaraguan village with no electricity for a week last summer to help build a school. BuildOn Inc., a charity popular with GE's finance team, has built 660 schools in some of the world's most impoverished countries, and it is now a key recruiting tool for new employees. CFOs are finding that giving away money, time and products to charitable causes is a good way to attract young talent.
In August, for example, the ALS Association, a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds research for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, took in more than $94 million when the ALS "Ice-bucket challenge" went viral. While the ways corporations give and engage with their communities are changing, their share of total donations has been stagnant at 5% for decades.
In addition, such generosity isn't a factor for the majority of millennial workers, 63%, who said they didn't consider a company's good deeds in their search for their current job, according to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report, which was based on a survey of employees at more than 300 companies by Achieve, a research and consulting firm. Of the 39% who discussed the company's "cause work" in their interviews, 55% said the company's involvement helped make up their mind to take the job.
While he acknowledges there is a marketing value to the company's philanthropic initiatives, he said: "We have a younger employee population and there's an emotional connection between the employee and the company.
Last week, the company and its employees gave out school supplies and clothes to 5,000 children. Small companies with little or no profits are seeing grass-roots philanthropy from young employees.
An idea for a ping-pong competition that started for bragging rights among startups in Austin, Texas, four years ago has turned into an annual fundraiser. The games have raised upward of $105,000 for a variety of charities and looks to expand the event to other cities.
For the past four years, Hannah Casparian has been whipping up dishes like broiled salmon and kale salad and African stew with couscous for employees at Austin-based Internet company uShip. But now, Casparian is ready to do what uShip’s founders did back in 2004: Strike out on her own.
With financial backing from two uShip employees, Casparian will soon leave her job as the company’s personal chef to launch her own business, a Central Austin bakery called Hannah. An employee leaving an established company to start her own business is not unusual in Austin’s startup-friendly culture. Add in a number of other lower-level employees who have done the same, and the company — which runs an online marketplace for the shipping industry — has become an incubator for entrepreneurship in Austin.

The departures mark a turning point for uShip as it transitions from a startup to an established company. For uShip, Chasen says, the departures are a chance to bring in a new wave of talent for the company’s next stage of growth. Founded in 2004 by Chasen and two fellow University of Texas MBA students, uShip runs a Web-based marketplace that matches customers who need to move large, unusually big items – cars, boats, equipment, freight – with thousands of transport companies who can take the load. Consumers and businesses post their shipment listing into uShip’s auction-style format, similar to eBay, or name their price, similar to Priceline.
Chasen got the idea for the company when he was moving from Seattle to Austin to attend business school at UT. At McCombs School of Business, he teamed with classmates Jay Manickam and Mickey Millsap to pursue the idea.
Today, the company is a multimillion-dollar business and has even been the subject of a reality TV show, “Shipping Wars” on A&E. With $28 million in backing from investors including prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, uShip is accelerating its expansion in Latin America and Europe and pushing beyond the consumer market into the $300 billion U.S. A decade in, the company’s management team is now in transition, with Manickam and Bose both moving on to start new companies. Bose, formerly uShip’s executive vice president of global business, is at work on an Internet-platform company that he says has already raised its first round of capital from local investors. Also departing is Gillian Wilson, who oversaw uShip’s human resources for the past seven years. Manickam, who like other former employees holds stock options in uShip, said the timing was right to bring in new leadership.
For uShip, the focus is on sustaining its close-knit culture, with perks including healthy meals served daily and company-wide outings such as tubing down the Guadalupe River. This story is part of the American-Statesman’s ongoing coverage of the Austin technology sector.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers are parking on freight portals to offer extra capacity to small shippers surfing for low-cost transportation.
Less-than-truckload (LTL) powerhouses Con-way Freight, Old Dominion Freight Line, and YRC Freight made headlines when they committed to uShip's shipper-direct spot rate marketplace.
To understand the story behind the headline, it helps to look back a few decades, when methods of choosing carriers and securing capacity were paperwork-intensive. In the past, traffic managers typically assigned carriers specific geographic areas, and assessed their choices by examining color-coded maps hanging on their office walls. Relationships also have grown more complex, as shippers now work with multiple carriers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers. To manage the growing complexity of buying transportation, many large shippers contract with 3PLs, and work through brokers that buy and sell capacity.
The idea for Austin, Texas-based uShip emerged in 2004, when co-founder Matt Chasen and his fiance were relocating to Austin from Seattle, and were paying for a moving van that was not full. When uShip launched, it first targeted consumers who needed to ship miscellaneous, oversized items—such as Chasen's mother's armoire—to other consumers. The service, which had 28 carriers on board as of June 2014, reports 250,000 registered business shippers. The service is a departure from the way LTL typically operates—with rates heavily influenced by brokers who negotiate prices and determine the rate that will be published, Bramlett says. Con-way Freight, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., also wanted to build relationships with smaller businesses as a way to expand its portfolio.
Shippers use the site by entering package dimensions, and receiving rate quotes from multiple carriers. Through the portal, shippers can book truck space, and schedule shipments, without having to pick up the phone or haggle over price. People’s eyes are now open to the possibility of transporting large items they’ve simply been discouraged, almost afraid, to buy in the past”, said Jack Aldridge, country manager, uShip UK.
This includes vehicles, motorcycles, powersports, and boats, with categories more coming online, as well as integration into global eBay properties, including the UK. It reminds me of incalcitrant eBay buyers determined to give four star DSRs and thinking they’ve done the seller a favour!
Viewers actively searching or registering on uShip through their smartphones or tablets while watching the program.
When RMN's users agree to share their Facebook likes and favorite retailers with the service, RMN sends them deals tailored to their interests, which they can also pass onto their Facebook friends. Whereas that service allows you to purchase virtually anything your heart desires (so long as it can be delivered to you), Gone gives you the ability to get rid of that item when you don't need it anymore.
The Aussie-founded, Austin-based platform helps small businesses do much more than sell, though. On the small screen and in real life, uShip is a transportation marketplace that connects consumers, brokers and businesses with licensed freight vehicles.
Where they're stymied, the startup says, is in finding the right opportunities and keeping all the details together.
The world's most-visited job site sees more than 140 million unique visitors every month and is available in more than 50 countries.
Sometimes, your desire for organic food doesn't match your willingness to drive 45 minutes both ways to find it.
But all of that, while interesting, has little relevance to the world of North America’s high-volume over-the-road shippers. The company is aiming to significantly expand its reach into the less-than-truckload and truckload markets. In April, the company announced three of the biggest LTL operators—YRC Worldwide, Con-way Freight, and Old Dominion—would post their shipper-direct spot rates on the uShip marketplace. Some critics have argued the system encourages smaller trucking companies to underbid on loads to win business, taking non-compensatory rates in an effort to win business. But Chasen said the marketplace is an effective place to link shippers and carriers that otherwise would struggle to make a connection.
As the story goes, Chasen’s epiphany came while moving his household goods from Seattle to Austin, Texas, in a largely empty moving truck. The marketplace is integrated into the “shipping” tab of eBay Motors for shoppers to access market rates for shipping vehicles, boats, motorcycles and powersports.
To date, 45 carriers have committed to provide instant, spot-market rates to uShip’s platform. Charitable programs, they say, can help lure job candidates away from high-tech startups with potentially lucrative stock options, and other socially minded entrepreneurs. They are coming together to study issues, like water use, energy and education, and they are thinking about what kind of active role they can take," said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation, a $40 million charity she joined in 1990. Companies fired thousands of workers and did meager college recruiting, which pushed many graduates to become entrepreneurs. The premium-brand clothing maker and its foundation donated $25 million to charitable causes over the past four years.
Borders, vice president of investor relations, said she interviewed with more than one Fortune 500 company, but she was swayed by Henry Schein's commitment to social responsibility.

The program has been in place for 17 years."Writing out a check is not enough," said CFO Steve Paladino.
The Austin Startup Games now pits rivals among 16 small companies in several activities, including foosball and Connect Four.
And it was working at a place like uShip that helped convince her to start her own business, she says. Then, transportation service providers, including truckers, movers and brokers, bid on the jobs or accept the offer price.
Although he had reserved a 9-foot rental truck, he ended up with a 20-footer because that’s all that was available. Since then, more than 400,000 transporters have registered on uShip and placed 16.5 million bids.
Wilson will lead Startup Games, a nonprofit that brings together technology startups to compete at games like ping-pong and foosball for charity.
Employees’ dogs are welcome at the headquarters, which includes an upstairs game room with ping pong, video games and shuffle board.
Reporters Lori Hawkins and Brian Gaar cover every aspect of the area’s tech scene, from semiconductors to software to venture capital. Shippers also increasingly use transportation management systems (TMS), which allow greater visibility into freight movements.
Chasen began thinking about that extra space, while recalling how, one year earlier, his mother had trouble finding a reasonable rate to ship an armoire. In 2013, the company expanded into LTL freight by matching carriers with extra capacity to shippers looking for low-cost space. If shippers want additional carrier options, they can post a request on the website's marketplace.
This method can save time over traditional ways of booking LTL space, which involve soliciting for bids and conducting multiple carrier reviews.
With Bigcommerce, they can track inventory, manage search and SEO, process payments and perform other vital business functions.
Like on eBay, uShip users can set a price for their cargo or create an auction, leaving feedback when the shipping process is finished.
To ward off confusion, VolunteerSpot offers easy online and mobile sign-ups, alerts and a mobile payment processing for organizers and attendees. It's free for job-seekers and pay-per-click for employers, meaning hiring companies are never saddled with high upfront fees for their listings, an important feature for small businesses looking to grow.
Greenling, an online and mobile grocer of for organic food, brings accessibility to the space by offering free delivery and prices comparable to what shoppers would find in a supermarket. While it might be intriguing to watch how a single quirky piece of machinery is hauled on TV, regular shippers are more interested in a tool that provides them access to accurate and competitive rates. At the time it brought the number of LTL carriers posting rates up to 28, with those carriers representing about 80 percent of LTL capacity in the market.
That newness is resonating, especially within the LTL market. “Increasingly we’ve had demand for more traditional freight modes and options,” he said.
That wasted space led him to hone an idea to create a market place based on space. Unfortunately, his idea sprang forth at the tail end of the dotcom bubble, and it took some time to convince venture capitalists that it was a worthwhile endeavor. But our products can plug into an existing TMS—our LTL rating tool can plug into an existing TMS that a shipper uses to manage their contract rates with certain carriers. When the buyer selects an instant LTL rate, the selected carrier gets a booking confirmation that contains information about the customer and freight to execute the pickup and delivery. At the same time, millennial workers and social media are forcing companies to rethink how and what they donate. Though the economy has recovered, that trend hasn't reversed, according to Fiona Murray, associate dean at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Innovation Initiative.
Last year, that totaled almost $18 billion, according to the Giving USA Foundation, whose research was conducted by Indiana University. Along with Casparian, at least three of the company’s top-level executives, including co-founder Jay Manickam, are in the process of leaving the company to strike out on their own. Meanwhile, it continues to expand its 180-person workforce by adding software engineers, mobile developers and support staff at its downtown headquarters in a renovated former general store at Third and Brazos streets. As long time co-founders and executives move on, we’re hiring super experienced experts in their disciplines. As he drove the half-full truck he kept thinking about how many empty trucks are on the road and how many people need to move goods, but there was no way to bring them together. The team spent their time at UT working on a business plan, pitching their idea at venture capital competitions and getting advice from professors and tech industry mentors. The amount of money spent on shipping services on the site surpassed $500 million this summer. Online platforms such as uShip are targeting this marketplace sector, and changing the way carriers and small shippers connect by simplifying the task of finding carriers to haul their loads. The uShip portal provides all the information necessary to evaluate pricing terms and service standards, including customer reviews, which are especially helpful for shippers without long-term carrier relationships. Simply snap a picture (or leave voice commentary) of the item and Gone's team gives it a price, finds a buyer for it, sends you shipping supplies, arranges free pick-up and, finally, sends you a check.
The platform is growing, too, and actively courting developers to make its software even more helpful to merchants. The end goal of uShip is get users the best price and freight drivers the most out of their long distance runs.
All those functions eliminate the constant back-and-forth and aggravation that repels many volunteers. All of Greenling's products are hand-inspected for quality and the company gladly keeps money flowing into the communities it services by working with dozens of local farmers and food producers. So we thought, let’s give these carriers access to small and medium shippers and let you do the rating based on seasonality, the time of day. The feedback rating system is indispensable for these guys, and inspires confidence to someone who might not use an independent hauler,” he said. Chasen said the company’s growth has largely been about marketing, not sales. With more than 300,000 carriers, when a shipper or broker likes to do repeat business with a carrier, they can invite them from that broad group into their network in a more controlled environment. LTL carriers have really taken to that, and there are benefits to both shippers and carriers.” Chasen said LTL represents about 10 percent of uShip’s business and is “growing very quickly.
The fee can range from 1.9 percent to the teens in percentage, all based on the transaction price.

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