Episode 32: Building a shipping unicorn with Laura Behrens Wu, Co-Founder & CEO of Shippo

Laura Behrens Wu (@LauraBehrensWu) is the co-founder and CEO of Shippo. Shippo is an API-first company focused on building shipping for 21st-century e-commerce.

When Laura Behrens Wu launched her own e-commerce store in 2013, she discovered that shipping was difficult. This led her to build Shippo, where customers could select the best carriers for their packages.

Top takeaways

  • Build something that’s a pain killer, not a vitamin. This means finding a true pain point and solving it.
  • Constantly seek new customer acquisition channels.
  • Keep in mind that people who succeed at corporations are not always successful at early-stage companies.
  • 0-1 team members are not always the ones who will drive the company to 100x.

Keeping a pulse on customer needs

Early on it’s crucial that founders are involved with customer success because it helps you understand their customer pain points.

This is how Laura and her co-founder, Simon Kreuz, learned that SMBs was Shippo’s main customer base because SMBs wanted better ways to compete against big companies.

Shippo as a result doubled down on shippers and this allowed them to scale supply with increased demand.

The effects of COVID lockdowns

During COVID, there was an influx of new customers as Brick-and-Mortar business went online. Shopping behaviors rapidly changed and fast-forwarded the shift to digital faster. This also impacted investors as more of them became interested in e-commerce businesses.

As a result Shippo doubled the team in 2020, and then again in 2021. As founders, expanding your team requires both speed and precision. Remember not every successful person at a large corporation will thrive at early stage.

The future of Shippo

Shippo has been US-centric up until now. But shipping is a global business, hence Shippo is strategically seeking to expand globally.

You can listen to the full episode in the embedded podcast player.

In addition to the above Youtube video and embedded podcast player, you can also listen to the podcast on:

Thanks to IJ Makan for helping write the episode summary.