So, there is a new tech startup that wants to make sure you can get all the items you want from the US. Shypmate.com is a company that lets you buy items from any online store in the US and gets it delivered to you - via travelers - in Nigeria and Ghana. Sound too good to be true? Apparently, it isn't.
Shypmate works very simply. You only need to go to Shypmate.com and put in a link to the item you want to get. You can then pay for the item, along with the Shypmate delivery fee, and Shypmate will go ahead and place the order on your behalf.
After the item is ordered Shypmate will update you throughout the process. Behind the scenes Shypmate's algorithm is able to match travelers with orders, using travel date and luggage space as key factors. Within 5 - 10 days from Shypmate or it’s traveler receiving the item from the merchant, you’ll have your item delivered to your address of choice.
Though Shypmate guarantees 10 days delivery, the company says its average delivery takes only four days, from when they receive the item from the merchant. For those of us who can’t be bothered with a website, you can just send an email to email@example.com with links to the items you want and Shypmate will handle everything else for you. Pretty impressive, I must say.
Shypmate differs from its competitors in that you can literally buy anything that has an online store in the U.S. As long as you have the link to the product you want, Shypmate can help you get it. The company plans on making it easier to discover things to buy through its platform and become a personal shopping assistant to help Nigerians find the things they need from the U.S. faster.
Shypmate was founded by four friends (three Nigerians and one Ghanaian), each of them having personally experienced the problem of getting things from the U.S. to Nigeria and Ghana. With three of four having degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the four decided that the problem was big enough that they were going to solve it.
When I met Tochukwu Okoro (one of the founders) at the 2016 Social Media Week Lagos, one of the first questions that I asked him was how they handled the risk factor (sending stuff through strangers is very risky, no?). His response was that the company performed background checks, took down passport information and all information they can on their travelers. That way, they can track travelers and the goods to be delibered. Pretty neat.
You can check them out at www.shypmate.com and then send them your suggestions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.