Laura Behrens Wu, Shippo, Woman Entrepreneur
Laura was part of the 500 Start-ups (Batch 8) group. She reached out to me about what she had built and where she was going. It was last March. Laura was building GoShippo to make it easier and less expensive for e-commerce ( and all ) stores to ship. Plain and simple. I see the burden and cost of shipping with every e-commerce company I work with. I responded quickly and invested in her company.
Laura grew up in Germany. She lived there until she was 6 years old. Her father works for the Germany foreign ministry, a diplomat, so he moves from country to country. Her Mom is from Taiwan and stayed home raising the family. Her parents met when they were 18/19 when her father was in Taiwan studying Chinese. Her Mother went to back to Germany with her Father to get her graduate degree and never left.
At six Laura moved to Beijing for six years. She went to the German school in Beijing so that no matter where she moved the curriculum would remain the same and make the transition easier. Their next stop was Berlin for two years, Ecuador for two years and then Cairo for two years. The constant movement made their family unit very strong.
After Cairo, Laura went to college in Switzerland where she majored in economics. One summer she spent as a research assistant and another she traveled. While she was there she spent her junior semester abroad at Harvard. It was the first time she had been in the US. She was speaking fluent english and loving it. The entire experience was inspirational. She found the diversity and the people empowering.
Laura went directly to business school after graduating. She attended the University of St. Gallen that specializes in the fields of business, economics, law and international affairs. Part of the curriculum is doing an internship. As Laura put it, in Switzerland people tend to think mostly about banking and Goldman Sachs jobs.. At Harvard people were talking about Teach for America. Laura decided she wanted to do an internship at a Y Combinator company in SF. She went to work at LendUp that offer socially responsible loans to people for education.
She went out for that internship and never came back to finish graduate school. Her business partner Simon who she met at business school was on the same roadmap. He went out there and never came back either. Laura had a friend go to her fully furnished apartment and close it down. She did not even go back for that.
Laura and Simon decided they wanted to get into something that was transactional. They began to realize that shipping was a huge pain point for e-commerce companies. They wanted to figure out the problem of how do you get products from one end of the globe to the other with a better more efficient shipping rate. They began to optimize shipping through an API platform.
They decided to apply to 500 Start-ups to get a few test users and then raise capital. Once they graduated they reached out to people like me. Fast forward Shippo is being used by small companies, medium sized companies and large companies. Through analytics they are tackling the shipping industry.
Her background is interesting. The constant movement between such different cultures. Her mind is quick, data driven and sharp. She is always warm and engaging. I continue to be impressed with Laura at every turn. I was out in SF about a month ago and was blown away by their deep dive into the world of shipping. As e-commerce mobile platforms get bigger each year the importance of Shippo is spot on. It saves companies money and time. Shippo is changing the way companies ship goods locally and globally.