Chances are you'd rather give out your home address than your bank account number. So why is it easier to transfer money to someone than it is to send them a package? 

That's because there's been far more innovation in mobile payments than there has been in shipping, says Shyp CEO Kevin Gibbon. His company hopes to close that gap with a new feature it calls address-free shipping. Much as Venmo users can send money to each other without sharing routing numbers, Shyp users will be able to send one another items with only a user name.

It's a simple change, but it eliminates one of the biggest barriers to shipping stuff, says Gibbon. Shyp has already done that on the other side of the transaction by eliminating the need for shippers to buy packaging and go to the post office or wait around for a courier. In a world where most people don't even know their friends' phone numbers, the idea of needing to ask for your contacts' physical mailing addresses seems weirdly old-fashioned. "It was just a friction point that didn't need to be there," Gibbon says. 

For consumers, the benefits of receiving packages via Shyp go beyond not having to give out one's address. They'll also be able to change the destination of packages even after they're en route. Already, says Gibbon, 6 percent of Shyp recipients are signing up from the service. He expects address-free shipping to increase that conversion rate substantially.

Eventually, he wants Shyp recipients to be able to specify their delivery coordinates as finely as senders can set their pick-up windows -- in other words, to within 20 minutes at a specific location. That will eliminate what Shyp calls the "ransom note": the door tag FedEx and UPS couriers leave to let you know they have attempted delivery one time too many and your package is now being held at a warehouse. Missing a delivery is such a hassle, many people take to ordering items to their offices, even though it means they need to carry them home. "You're doing last-mile delivery for the carriers," he says.

Along with the product news, Shyp, which recently said it was transitioning its entire workforce over from independent contractors to W-2 employees, is also unveiling a major change of its branding. Gone is the blue wing logo, which looked like too man other startups' logos. In its place is a clean white, black and green design that's more distinctive and grown-up looking. The makeover is the work of Design Studio, the same firm that did Airbnb's major rebrand last year.

Published on: Oct 22, 2015