THE PARCELPORT FOUNDER’S STORY
My name is Jimmy, I once ran a successful brick and mortar business, I am probably the most unlikely person to head an online courier company which I co-founded in 2012, this is my story and also the story of Parcelport.
In 2009 my father fell ill, I took time off my then business to look after him, he passed away at the end of 2009, over the next two years I went on to complete 99% of the tasks that he have asked of me while he was in his sick bed, including taking mum on a few overseas trips, helping some family members, complete some of his wishes and taking care of some business.
Only one thing I rebelled on is that I went on to start Parcelport against the advice of my father. My father believes in cashing in at the right time, taking the winning and enjoy the fruit of his labour, he himself retired at a relatively young age, although he didn’t take his business to a higher level I thought he could of, he lived comfortably and enjoyed a long retirement. At the time I had a successful business, my father knowing me the serial entrepreneur that I am, he is worried I will take my winning and gamble it all once again in another risky start-up, which I could lose everything.
I was a broken man having lost my father, – a mentor, a business partner, who I am very close to, in my early 30s I was too young to “retire”, by 2012 I was ready to start my next business venture, I meet Grant who runs a small web design company to help me build a website, soon we are in business, as online shopping becoming more and more popular, taking payment online and shipping goods out to customer is becoming a real challenge for small to medium size businesses, the company is formed to provide online payment and courier solutions to small and medium enterprises.
I came up with the name Payport, Pay as in payment, Port symbolises shipping (as the parcel business has taken off, the company was eventually rebranded as Parcelport as we know it today, luckily we didn’t have to change our P logo) Grant’s wife Lenka designed the blue P logo that we still have today. Soon we have Lauren to join us as our first staff whom she is still with us today.
We partnered with Paymark as our payment partner and Posthaste as our courier partner. Posthaste took a punt on us when we are nobody and didn’t even have a single customer, we would eventually went on to become one of their biggest customer.
Chen who just got fired from his job joined us as our first web developer. In two month’s time, a basic version of the system is ready and we hire Gustav as our first salesperson and first few customers starting to use us, then there were ten, twenty, a hundred, customers then starting to refer their friends and business associates to us, soon there were a few hundred customers signing up, most of these customers are still with us today.
Since then the system have evolved through a number of upgrades, our IT team also grew from one person to seven.
In 2013 the company faces its first big challenge, most start-up companies will fail in their first year, I brought out the other shareholder and brought Eva in to help turn the company around.
In the early days as a small company everyone have to do everything, big or small, when we come to work we leave our ego at the door, often when a customer rings our customer service line, it would usually be me or Eva who answers the phone, Eva’s previous job was Group General Manager of the multi-national Lei Garden Group with over 2000 employees worldwide, she used to have her own Personal Assistant to do all these things for her, so working for a small start-up company was a bit of a culture shock for her, she went back to do what she did best before she was GM, which is sales, over the next few years sales grew exponentially, in 2016 the company was ranked 170th in the Deloitte Fast 500 index of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in the Asia Pacific. The same year we were made finalist of the Westpac Best Emerging Business Award, Zino Venture’s New Kiwi Challenge and Techcrunch’s Start-Up Battlefield.
Despite having some small success, Parcelport is still largely an underdog, we are up against industry giants and incumbents, we knocked on many doors of industry giants and have doors slam shut at front of us, fortunately technology is on our side, internet have allow online businesses to take on traditional business models, more and more industry players are starting to approach us.
We have partnered up with Freightways, New Zealand Post and TNT Express to offer a number of domestic and international courier options to our customers, such as Castle Parcels, Now Couriers, Pace Couriers, Courier Post, Parcel Post, International Air Parcel, EMS and TNT Express and TNT Economy Express service etc.
In 2017 the company successfully raised fund from Zino Ventures, Ice Angels and Callaghan Innovations and have former DHL New Zealand Managing Director and Director of Asia Pacific Graham Roberts to join our board as chairman and as an investor. Today our company have access to more delivery vehicles than any other courier company in New Zealand.
As our company is moving to the next phase, looking back over the past few years, it has been challenging, we made it through by being persistent, to never give up, to never give up on our people and to never give up on our customers, to never give up on our dream, we are like the shipping label, it sticks to the package until it gets there, and like the package, along its journey from the warehouse to the depot, from the airplane to a truck, from the delivery van to a home, it passes through so many pairs of hands that help it to reach its destination, this story is dedicated to all the past and present Parcelport team members, customers, investors who have lend a hand and got us thus far.
People say that it was good of me that I stuck around back in 2013 and didn’t give up on the company, and helped fixed this little company and turned it around, but I would say, I was this broken man grieving for my father, and this little company fixes me.