EquaShip Suspends Operations, Overhauls Shipping Network

Seattle shipping startup EquaShip, which aims to save small and medium-sized businesses big bucks over UPS and FedEx, has hit a big stumbling block. The company is suspending operations to overhaul the way it routes packages in a bid to speed up delivery times.

The change is major—CEO Ron Wiener says it could take a year. Up until now, EquaShip has partnered with another company that funneled packages through trucking companies, who actually delivered packages. But that had been taking too long to get packages delivered, so EquaShip intends to take over the middleman duties itself when it relaunches.

The new version of EquaShip’s service should allow the company to actually offer more options for shippers, including same-day, expedited, and international service, while still offering lower rates than UPS and FedEx, Wiener says. Cutting out the middleman and taking over those duties itself “not only lowers our costs but allows us to pick our own local couriers and long-haul trucking companies, with more direct IT integration.”

EquaShip initially launched its service in October, just in time for the busiest shipping season of the year. Its target customers are mostly e-commerce merchants who spend $100,000 or less a year on shipping—the size of businesses that don’t typically get special rates or deals from the big shipping companies, who are concentrating on offering their best rates to larger customers.

EquaShip has raised $1.5 million from undisclosed angels and strategic investor Newell Rubbermaid, which sells shipping and mailing technology through one of its sub-brands. The new approach will probably take some additional fundraising, Wiener says.

Wiener says the company’s customers, partners, and investors, have been “universally supportive” of the rejiggering—although they’re understandably disappointed at the amount of time it might take to get things fired up again.

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