Good piece highlighting another high impact company that was founded on campus by students. These student entrepreneurs hail from University of Texas McCombs School of Business (home of the fabled Moot Corp) and they created an online shipping platform called uShip. From the article by Stacey Higginbotham:
Six years ago I attended a business plan competition where I watched a couple of guys explain how they wanted to streamline the process of shipping bulky items across the country by linking folks up via the Internet. The social Web was starting to heat up, but I liked how these guys and their company, uShip, were trying to take the Web and use it to bring people together, not to swap songs or photos but to take advantage of empty space in moving vans.
UShip, a matching service that connects people who want to send things across the country and those who happen to have space in their vehicles as they drive across country (and that also offers an alternate revenue stream for professional shippers) is now profitable, thanks to commissions the company takes when it matches shippers and shippees. The Austin (Tex.) company brought in between $5 million and $7 million in sales during 2009, double that of the previous year.
UShip has raised $7 million in outside capital from Benchmark and DAG Ventures and has helped broker more than $140 million in shipping contracts—with about 85% of those occurring during the past two years. Last week it received its one-millionth listing on the site.
From a March 2004 Moot Corp Newsletter highlighting uShip’s performance in the San Diego State University Business Plan Competition:
The uShip team is composed of four second-year students–Matt Chasen, Jay Manickam, Mickey Millsap and Todd Parsapour-whose start-up is uShip, a company that offers “ridesharing for your stuff.” That is, it matches cargo with drivers who have excess capacity on routes all around the country via patent-pending route deviation search technology.
uShip (www.uship.com) made its official launch March 1 and the early results have exceeded their wildest expectations. With limited marketing, they already have over 550 members, 60+ shipments listed, and have completed 12 transactions. uShip initially expected their model to be limited to lower cost in a limited geographic area, but their very first transaction was a $900 shipment of three beds and a dresser from Texas to Pennsylvania. uShip is looking to close a 500K round by May to scale their marketing and technology infrastructure.
What an impressive job by uShip and its founders. As we can, see they found seed funding through a variety of business plan competitions and have really been able to scale their firm; creating wealth for investors and entrepreneurs as well as jobs for residents of Austin and freight transporters. Pretty cool. Congrats to the team and McCombs for such a great success.