Aug. 15, 2018

#41 Can This Startup Help Retailers Take on Amazon?

#41 Can This Startup Help Retailers Take on Amazon?

Amazon is on track to grab nearly HALF of all online retail sales this year. But not if Chelsie Lee’s startup Shipsi has a say in the matter. She wants to give online retailers the ability to compete, by helping them offer super speedy shipping. But it might not be easy with the retail Goliath breathing down her neck. 

Today's investors are Jillian Manus, Phil Nadel, Nicole Verkindt, Michael Hyatt, and Charles Hudson.


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Amazon. They’re the undisputed king of online retail... In part, because they can get you what you want... fast — Now someone wants to help the little guys compete.

Chelsie: our line to a lot of brands and retailers is operate like Amazon but on your own and 23 hours faster 

It might seem impossible to imagine a startup that could really compete with Amazon — But the surprising thing is that 56% of eCommerce sales happen somewhere OTHER than Amazon. And that’s a lot of market up for grabs … 

Today’s entrepreneur is raising 1 and a half million dollars … and she’s here to convince 5 investors to help her get started...

I’m Josh Muccio, and from Gimlet Media, this is The Pitch.

Our first investor...

Phil: I’m Phil Nadel.


As a serial entrepreneur Phil built companies that sold for hundreds of millions of dollars. Now he manages one of the largest syndicates on AngelList.


Charles: I’m Charles Hudson


Charles is with Precursor Ventures where he’s invested $20 million in over 100 startups to date. 


Nicole: I’m Nicole Verkent


Nicole is a founder CEO who’s previous companies did over $60mm in annual sales. Now, she’s also an angel investor.


Michael: I’m Michael Hyatt


Michael built and sold two software companies for over $500 million dollars and now he invests for himself.


Jillian: I’m Jillian Manus


Jillian is a partner at Structure Capital, where they’ve invested $98 million so far in high-profile startups like Uber.


All right, on with the pitch. Here’s Chelsie.


Chelsie: My name is Chelsie Lee. I am the co-founder and CEO of Shipsi. So before we dive into it today, has anyone ordered anything online recently.

Jillian: Yes. Like 3 o'clock in the morning.

Michael: Filters for my home.

Chelsie: Filters for your home?

Nicole: He is so cool 

Phil: I ordered a bunch of books.

Nicole: Books.

Chelsie: Books.

Phil: They sell them online now.

Chelsie: Oh. Amazing!

Phil: Good to know 

Chelsie: Great. Okay, so I'll use the filter example, because...

Michael: The air filters.

Chelsie: Yes. Those are very important, right? And shampoo is also very important Okay. So very urgent. You're completely out of shampoo. You need shampoo and you need your air filters. If you were online shopping and you saw three different options a checkout. One was 7-10 days for free, overnight for maybe 40. Or you could get it within an hour for let's say $9. Which one would you pick?

Nicole: Overnight $9.

Chelsie: Within an hour $9.

Michael: Within an hour?

Chelsie: Within an hour.

Phil: And overnight was 40?

Chelsie: And overnight was 40.

Phil: This is a trick question, Chelsie.

Chelsie: Not trying to be tricky.

Phil: I’d go 7-10.

Michael: Okay. So I’m going to play your game. Yes, I’d like my filters in one hour for $9. I’m going to say yes to that. So how does this happen, Chelsie? 

Chelsie: Magic.

Michael: Okay.

Chelsie: Yes. So that’s what we do. We’re currently live and operating. We basically add an option at checkout so that consumers can receive merchandise in an hour or less 

Chelsie: we aggregate all of the last mile delivery partners in the area. So we aggregate the Ubers, the Postmates, the Instacarts, the Delivs, the Dropoffs. We aggregate all of those and then give the end consumer the best option. So to set the market for this, there’s over $700 billion last year alone left in total shopping cart abandonment. Of that, 135 billion was left specifically because people couldn’t get their shampoo fast enough, or people couldn’t get their air filters fast enough. So that 135 billion is just because people couldn’t get things fast enough.

Phil: How do you know that?

Chelsie: It was a big study from the NRF on Census that I can send to you. 

By signing up for Shipsi, online retailers can add one hour delivery to their shipping options … It basically plugs into the big rideshare and courier companies, finds an available driver, and makes the delivery happen. 

Nicole: And you're taking a fee from the rider?

Chelsie: So we don't take anything on the delivery fee The reason we don't take a fee from that is that we want to make sure that that price is as low as possible. aah so our revenue model is 100% volume or value driven for the retailer. Basically the more online orders they get, the more that they pay us.

Phil: So it's a SAAS model for the brands and retailers?

Chelsie: Yes. Yes.

Jillian: So you have partnerships with Uber and Lyft?

Chelsie: Yep.

Jillian: Already, you have partnerships with them?

Chelsie: Yes. 

In the same way that Uber is basically a taxi company that doesn’t own any taxis, Shipsi is basically a delivery company that doesn’t own any delivery trucks. 

Phil: is this a way for brands and retailers to basically compete with Amazon’s one hour shipping option?

Chelsie: Yeah.

Phil: Is that what they’re primarily interested in doing?

Chelsie: Yeah, a lot of them. So our line to a lot of brands and retailers is operate like Amazon but on your own and 23 hours faster. And people tend to like that. 

Michael: But Amazon could just turn this on, right? And just grab Ubers and everybody else? Because Amazon, people should understand, is ruthlessly competitive. And then they will, if they want what you’re doing...

Phil: But Amazon does offer one hour delivery.

Nicole: Just not in Canada.

Phil: In certain cities, they offer one hour delivery already 

Michael: You’re saying there’s a lot of people selling stuff online and they would love to have quicker better fulfilment for customers. And they would love to offer one hour delivery, which they cannot do, because they don’t have the strength of an Amazon or a Walmart or what have you. You’re saying, so if I’m a regular retailer and even if I have a hundred shops or 50 shops, that’s still relatively small, or even two shops or just a Shopify, I can offer now one hour shipping by just integrating with you. It’s seamless. I don’t see Shipsi. All I see is, now I offer... People are going to think that’s great. And that’s all you’re saying. Your value proposition is you’re bringing it to everybody.

Chelsie: Yeah. And they get to keep their margins 

Michael: You're making a kind of an estimation that most of these items that people want to buy are in close proximity to a major city that you can get picked up and delivered by Uber pretty quick. That's what you're doing, right?

Chelsie: Yeah 

Nicole: what ecommerce platforms are you integrating with? Are you in Shopify, for instance?

Chelsie: Yes. Yes. So Shopify is completely automated. Someone can sign up on their own through a download in the Shopify app store Everyone pays a one-time setup fee, a monthly recurring fee, and then also a flat rate of $5 per transaction 

If you’re not familiar with Shopify… it’s one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world. Well over half a million merchants use Shopify to operate their online stores… and now, a lot of those retailers can sign on with Shipsi… for a price ...

Michael: Are you charging the retailer a monthly subscription?

Chelsie: Yes.

Michael: How much are you charging them?

Chelsie: It ranges from $100 to 10,000 a month.

Michael: Now that's interesting.

Phil: Based on?

Chelsie: It's $100 a month to 10,000 a month based on the number of transactions. So the more ecom orders that they get, the more that they pay us, basically.

Nicole: And the five bucks is on top of that?

Chelsie: Yes.

Nicole: It just feels rich, doesn't it? $5 per transaction. That feels a little steep, doesn't it?

Chelsie: For the brand or the retailer, let me tell you why we haven't had push back on that. The average, to ship a package, in the US is $12 per package. The brand or the retailer isn't paying that freight anymore because they're not delivering it to UPS or FedEx. So compared to the $12, the retailer is seeing, great, I can do it for five 

Michael: So you bill the retailer, let’s say it’s the Gap or Banana Republic or something. You’re going to bill them $5 per transaction? 

Chelsie: Yes.

Michael: And you are up and going right now? Are you doing this?

Chelsie: Yes.

Michael: So how long have you been doing it?

Chelsie: So we finished the technology in October of last year. We did a couple hundred transactions with alpha and beta customers in New York, Chicago, LA and San Francisco 

Phil: Why wouldn’t Postmates or Uber do this themselves? 

Michael: I don't think... Uber is not in the business of going to retailers and setting up a one hour shipping.

Jillian: Maybe not now.

Phil: It wouldn't be that hard for them to have a Shopify app. For Postmates...

Chelsie: Postmates already does have a Shopify app. What we found is that because of our aggregation...

Phil: The coverage is better?

Chelsie: I did a test a couple weeks ago, and it was a $24 piece of merchandise. Through the Postmates and Shopify it was $23 to get it. Whereas we had another provider that would do it for $7 

Jillian: So you bid it out. So the best price, you're delivering to them? That's important.

Chelsie: Yes

Charles: The retailer is not going to seven integrations for one hour shipping. They're not going to do a separate integration for Uber, Postmates. They want one...

Phil: For sure. But I guess what I was thinking is that between, like let's say Postmates or Uber, that they would cover enough geographic area that you wouldn't really... They wouldn't need, you wouldn't need the aggregation piece. Because Postmates has such big coverage. But maybe I'm wrong about that.

Chelsie: What if one of them goes out? Or that price difference, right? One of them was $23 versus $7 dollars 

Chelsie: Fundamentally, we believe that all logistics will be on demand. All ecommerce will be on demand in the next three, five years, right? There’s different things that are coming up in the market, a bike, or a truck, or a cart.

Phil: A drone.

Chelsie: A drone. I mean, that’s a big project for Uber right now.

Phil: But go back to why is it better than Postmates doing their... They have their own Shopify app. So why is a retailer better off working with you than with the Postmates Shopify app?

Chelsie: If you were a retailer, would you want to spend the time for your buyer or your planner or your person in the store trying to track down an Uber driver? Like a big part of it is the customer service layer behind that.

Nicole: But Uber drivers are the easiest people to track down on the planet.

Michael: Not for retail people at the store. I don't buy that.

Charles: FedEx and UPS each go everywhere. And lots of retailers offer multiple options for the same... I think, I mean, I don't want to make your argument for you, Chelsie. I think redundancy is valuable for retailers. Because remember these networks are, they stretch and they grow. You might hit a point where all the Postmates people are out delivering lunch. To Nicole's point. And you want to have a fallback. And when scooter delivery or drone delivery comes out, you don't want to have to say okay, now we have to go canvas...

Chelsie: Redo the implementation.

Phil: Fair enough.

Chelsie: we are very early. We just started onboarding paying customers literally this quarter. We have about 20 paying customers that are all in implementation right now. They will be launching publicly, literally, next week 

Michael: Can you tell us what you think your revenue is going to be this year?

Chelsie: This year we'll do just under half a million. And my question for anything else future, I would say how many companies have you invested in at this stage that those projections were actually right? ummm

Nicole: Thank you for admitting that.

Chelsie: I mean, I could tell you we’re going to do a billion dollars next year.

Jillian: Well, what are you doing now? What are you doing now?

Phil: You have 20 paying customers now that are about to launch. And how much of recurring revenue, of the SAAS revenue, from that?

Chelsie: It’s a couple thousand a month that we’re getting from them. I still technically consider us pre-revenue.

Phil: Couple thousand from each one? 

Chelsie: No. It’s a couple thousand collectively. We literally just started this quarter 

Michael: How are you getting sales?

Chelsie: Our demand right now is far greater than we can currently support 

Michael: What do you mean? Why can’t you fulfill those deals?

Chelsie: My cellphone number is currently the customer service, what happened to my order, implementation, I want to invest in Shipsi, I want to sign up for Shipsi.

Michael: Welcome to entrepreneurship. Okay, I got it.

Nicole: That's awesome 

Wow, Chelsie has really been bootstrapping this thing. And Shipsi has had to leave money on the table because of it. But that’s why she’s here fundraising. Chelsie needs to hire staff, rent an office, get her cell phone number off the website. Yunno, make this into a real business.

Michael: How much are you raising right now? And what have the past raises been like?

Chelsie: Yeah, so my co-founder Ben Way threw in the first 350 and built the API. And then after that we did a friends and family and raised 380. We’re currently raising 1.5 at a 4.5 cap in convertible notes. Of that, we have 800 closed or committed, so looking to fill about that 700 

Phil: How much runway will this round give you?

Chelsie: 18 months at a minimum.

Jillian: So you’re raising 1.5 at a 4.5. You’ve raised subsequently around 800,000. What was the valuation of the last round?

Chelsie: 4.5.

Jillian: Okay. So you’re doing a flat round?

Chelsie: Yeah. We’re just basically coupling everyone together.

Nicole: Very reasonable.

Jillian: Yeah.

Chelsie: Yeah.

Nicole: Very reasonable 

In a first for the show, the investors actually agree on what the startup’s valuation should be. So is this too good of a deal to pass up? Here’s Nicole.

Nicole: I was in. I was really in by minute five. Right from the beginning. Very in. I'm wavering right now. Like, I still want to be in. I think your valuation's reasonable. I think you can make it happen. It's timely. I'm wavering right now because of the stuff Phil's been talking about on scale. I think you're going to be swallowing an elephant. Which all entrepreneurs are. But I think with this one, it's going to be all about that scale. Because your room for error is so small. It's one hour And so that's the part where I'm troubling right now. I think if I were forced into a decision I'd have to say pass for now. But that I was so in for the whole thing because of a bunch of... The trends, because of you. You're a huge part of this. And I think you will make it happen. 

Jillian: So if I had a lifeline right now, I would call Charles.

Nicole: Yeah 

Charles: Yeah So I have a... I’m mostly in. And the reason I say mostly in is because I have a bunch of investments in and around shipping that I need to make sure are totally de-conflicted I mean, one of the big things I learned is that having one single API for this stuff, it becomes way more valuable over time because logistics just gets more complex So I just think a lot about these digitally native vertical brands that are doing things, tennis shoes, apparel, that are in New York City. They're in San Francisco, they're in LA. And they're heavy reliant on shipping.

Phil: But how important is it, to those examples you gave, how important is it to them to have one hour shipping?

Charles: I don't think one hour. I think you're going to end up relaxing this one hour thing. 

Phil: Well, let's just say same day.

Charles: I think same day is a big deal.

Phil: You do?

Charles: I totally do.

Phil: For like tennis shoes?

Nicole: Order in the morning, have it by night. Yeah. One hour scares me. It’s so small.

Jillian: We live in an instant gratification world.

Michael: So I’ll chime in on mine. I think your ability to bring quick shipping to everybody who is not Amazon is really important. And I think if I’m a Shopify merchant, I really want to... There’s a number that would love to do this if they have that proximity. I think it makes a ton of sense. So I’m in. And I’m not sure how much for. I want to spend time on your paperwork and take a little bit of time, do a little bit of diligence. But I like you. I like your answers. I like your continuous valuation I think you have a certain amount of humility which will make a lot of sense in working with you. I feel like I can work with you. So yeah I’m in from anywhere 25 grand to 100 grand. I just don’t know.

Chelsie: Amazing. And you! I... Man!

Chelsie: Sweet. Awesome. Thank you. Ah! Thank you. Psyched.

Phil: I'm in for 300,000.

Chelsie: Amazing.

Phil: Yeah. I like what you’re doing. I think you may end up having your hands full just with Shopify. You may not need to go beyond that. So let Shopify keep you busy on the demand side for a while. Integrate with as many of these last mile delivery companies as you can But I’m just counting on the fact that the Shopify integrations are automated and that you don’t need to spend any time doing that. 

Chelsie: Yeah. 

Phil: Good. I'm happy to be in.

Chelsie: Sweet. Psyched.

Michael: Jillian?

Jillian: Um. Everything about you, I like It's the one thing we were just talking about is the humility piece, is you'll say you don't know if you don't know. And that does speak volumes to me. Incredible I had three companies and none of them worked. One was Doorman, one was Ship. And one was Ghost Truck. And so in my head I'm thinking, what went wrong with all of those. And each one had their own individual problems. Ghost Truck had really hard time with their relationship and selling this to these retailers. Ship had a myriad of problems. In fact... So many problems. And I don't know, Charles...

Phil: Are any of the problems that you experienced with these three applicable here?

Jillian: Well, that's what I'm... I'm actually processing this. 

Phil: I'm curious.

Jillian: And that's part of this.

Nicole: You should give her all the lessons learned from all of those companies.

Chelsie: Well we have actually an advisor who was previously at Ship, and an advisor who was previously head of product at Uber. Between the two of them they are my saving grace. Every week, should I do this last mile guy? Or what about this problem? And they’re like, nope 

Jillian: umm the fact that you have somebody from Ship is really a big positive for me. That you can learn from all the mistakes they made. Okay. I initially was thinking I was going to be in for about 50. I’m going to go in for 150. 

Chelsie: Amazing. Thank you.

Jillian: Thank you. 


Phil: Everyone?

Jillian: Charles?

Charles: I think I’m in. But I need to just make sure I’m de-conflicted.

Jillian: Oh that’s right.

Charles: But we do 200 or 250 

Jillian: Okay. So Michael you're in for anywhere from 25 to 100.

Michael: Right.

Jillian: You, Charles, if you have no conflict, around 250?

Charles: Yeah. 250.

Jillian: 250. Right. Phil's 300. I'm just rounding out.

Michael: There's your round by the way. 

Jillian: And there's your round. 

Chelsie: All right!

Jillian: Okay. Nice to meet you.

Chelsie: Let's do it! Ah! So excited! Thank you! 

CHACHING! Chelsie just did it, she just pulled in over 600K… Not too bad for an hour’s work.

But when we come back, Amazon makes a move that could torpedo this entire deal.


Welcome back… before the break Chelsie Lee reeled in $600K in commitments for her startup. Fast forward a couple of months, I called Chelsie up to hear what happened after The Pitch. She told me that she was talking to the investors from the show when other VCs starting showing up. She already had one lead investor...

Chelsie: And then we had actually another lead come in to out company that wanted to lead and then another week went by and we had a third lead come in and say, "I wanna lead and fill the rest of the round." So we set out to raise 1.5 million and we're over-subscribed by a million with 3 leads and, uh, everyone is a strategic investor, even our angels. We had to turn quite a few away. So feeling in a good spot right now. 


Josh: Holy cannolis. Uhuhuh. So 3 lead investors I've never heard of that? 


Chelsie: Yeahah. It sort of follows through with the uniqueness of our round and the process and I think our team is definitely not normal and it's been a challenge to sort it out, but I'm really happy with everyone that's involved. 


Josh: Got it. alright so you're apparently over-subscribed, over 1.5 million, um, does that mean that pushed out the investors on our show? 


Chelsie: Uh, you know, I really wanted to include the investors from the show, but we didn't even get to that point. We didn't even get the opportunity to kick them out because they didn't come in, which is really unfortunate because I really, you know genuinely like all of them 


Josh: Okay. Um. 


Chelsie: What do you think about- What do you uh- What are your thoughts? 


Josh: Well it's uh... it's disappointing. Yeah, um I'm a bit crestfallen here. I'm not sure what uh... So was there na- Like wha- Like was there an email to them that say, "Hey, like, we're closing this round. These are the investors that are coming in. Now's your chance to get in," like, do they know the door is closing quickly? 


Chelsie: Yeah, I mean they- you know I was really transparent about it from the beginning with them and said like- I mean I- I didn't even get to that point with them. They bowed out before I could even say, "Look, we're oversubscribed. Do you want in or not? Like I'd love to have you." But they bowed out before we even got to that point. 


Josh: What happened? Why did they bow out? 


Chelsie: I don't know. Good question. I'd love to know the answer 


I found out shortly after this that, Charles, is very much still interested in investing, like he wants to put in the $250K that he wanted to invest originally. Which is huge!


But I still wanted to know, what happened to the other 3 investors. Was there something that caused the deal to fall apart?


[phone ringing]


Phil: Phil Nadel


Josh: Phil Nadel - Joshua Muccio 


Phil: Josh - how are you? 


Josh: Hi Phil. I'm well. 


Phil: It's a pleasure to hear from you 


Josh: You wanna talk Shipsi -- What happened with Shipsi? 


Phil: Sure. So, the first thing is that shortly after the recording, uh, Amazon made an announcement that they are building their own delivery network. 


Josh: They're building their own Shipsi. 


Phil: Uh, they're building their own delivery network, which has significantly bad implications for Shipsi, in my view 


Phil: So initially Amazon has said that they're hiring a large number of people to deliver Amazon orders within a few hours in local areas all around the country, but they also said that they will consider expanding this to other merchants as well. So, you have you know, competition from Amazon, and that is on top of the competition that already existed from Postmates, and Instacart, and Uber, and other delivery networks and anytime you're competing against Amazon --- you have to be concerned


Josh: Right.


Phil: --There's some other concerns. Logistically, there was a concern in that Chelsie had most of the round, filled already, and was very eager to close the round in a 2 week period, from when I talked to her But, the timing really didn't work for us, because, as a syndicate, yunno our model is such that it takes about 2 weeks. That's how long the process from start to finish takes when you launch a deal through the syndicate. 


Josh: So if I could say this in a concise way, as the deal was heating up after the fact, things started to cool on your end? 


Phil: [laughter] I don't know what to say. I gave you my answer and you're trying to put it in a soundbite So, yes- But like I said there's also this logistical concern, and the big gotcha that came out after the pitch was the Amazon things and it was a really big concern as well. So for all these concerns, I'm going to have to pass. And I'm not worried about Chelsie. It seemed like she had the round billed and didn't have any problem raisin' money, so I think she's off to a great start and I told her I hope I'm wrong and she builds a big business 


Josh: Ummm, or...


Phil: ---Op-- I gotta get this. 


Josh: Great I'll let you go. 


[Thank yous]


So for Phil, timing became an issue, for why this deal fell apart… but this Amazon announcement was kind of a big deal… It’s this new program to incentivise people to start small businesses that deliver Amazon packages. And you’ll even start seeing Amazon’s own delivery vans on the road. I asked Jillian if this affected her decision... 


Josh: So Amazon’s like this announcement, it doesn’t mean they’re competing with shipsi right now, but like seems like they could be 5, 10 years down the line like wouldn’t they just turn this on…


Jillian: No I'm thinking more like a year down the line. I'm thinking a year to two years down the line. To be able to turn that on is nothing for them because, you have to understand. Lemme bring in another point. Amazon announced also in this time frame that they are partnering up with American Express and others to do a very targeted incentive program to small business, to SMBs They're already beginning to look at that not just inside the network, but outside the network. How can they bring everyone in, and so that was another point of reference for me, to say listen they're gonna take this whole cake. They may be just taking a piece of it right now. But they're gonna take it and by the way, they can, they will, and it's not difficult. 


It sounds like Amazon is looking to work more with small businesses that aren't already selling on their platform. And that makes Jillian nervous.


Jillian: Who know what Amazon is gonna do, but they're a gorilla, and they seem to be eating up everything and everybody so, when they say specifically that they're going into this space, that is a concern 


Josh: Yeah. Jillian thank you so much 


Jillian: Bye


[hanging up sound]


[ring tone]

The last person I spoke with in my quest for answers, was Michael Hyatt

Josh: Tell me, what happened with Shipsi after the fact? 


Michael: I had a few conversations with Chelsie and a number of email correspondence. I really like her. And then right afterwards, Amazon kinda came out and said they're kinda getting into the shipping business and kinda making a shipping for all. And I think that muddied the waters a little for me I just couldn't get comfortable enough that they were gonna be the winner of this space, and that this made a ton a sense, especially Amazon's announcement. And sometimes what happens is that you just need more time to due diligence and you don't have that time. After a show, typically there's a buzz around these companies, and they're all gonna raise their -- round extremely quickly with a matter of weeks. And if you can't do due diligence enough, ask enough people, ya can't--it's better not getting into the fear of missing out thing and just pass on it Like it came together for them, like, they were like putting to their round within in a week of the show and I was like, "Wo, okay.." 


Josh: Oh that fast? Wow. 


Michael: It was really fast, but I think that's great for them. But as an investor it's like, okay, you know the Amazon thing comes out, you're trying to digest it, you need to make phone calls, you need to understand like what's going on. Ya know, you're trying to put this whole thing together, and sometimes it's a bit fast, but, look I've been an entrepreneur and I've raised money before myself and, I think they did the right thing. I think if they can raise the money and they're happy with their investors, I think good on them. I think they're doing the right thing 


Josh: Thank you Michael. I appreciate it, especially on such short notice. Thanks for takin' the time. 


Michael: Okay Josh see ya.


With that, I had my answers. It was time to give Chelsie another ring…


Chelsie: Good morning This is Chelsie. 


Josh: Hi Chelsie, good morning So I got updates from each of the investors. 


Chelsie: Oh OK. Let's hear it.


Josh: So they all had like different issues that they ran into. There was like a common thread of like the deal happened too fast. I wasn't able to do the due diligence I wanted to. Jillian had some other things in due diligence but the one thing that all three investors this is Jillian, Michael and Phil mentioned was the Amazon news that for them was — 


Chelsie: Really?


Josh: Yeah yeah. That was like a big deal for them. 


Chelsie: Wow. OK. Well there is nothing I can do about Amazon you know publicizing an article on you Know. It is what it is. And it actually doesn't. I don't believe it impacts our business. 


Josh: You don't think so? 


Chelsie: No I don't. Especially at this stage. You know we're not trying to compete with them by any means. You know personally I think anyone who does is foolish but. 


Josh: So the thing I would say that I heard from the investors was like yeah maybe it's not competitive right now but they... I thought like oh well five 10 years like they're going to look for other opportunities to continue to expand the market and like take as much of the pie as they can and why wouldn’t they like open up this feature you know and Jillian said she's like it's not going to be five or 10 years. She's like I think it's going to be a year two. [00:01:58][108.0]

Chelsie: Yeah yeah. Well... were they saying that we were were a little bit toe early or a little bit too late? 


Josh: I don't think it was early or late. I think they were seeing the news from Amazon as like a kind of broke down. Yeah but also as like a signal of kind of where they're going in the future not everything's going to be in network. We need to be willing to like as we grow and start doing some stuff out of network 


Chelsie: OK. Interesting! It was great to get some clarity. Thank you for doing the reverse diligence for me and putting it to bed. Yeah it is actually a big relief. And I think that the timing of it you know is is just really interesting. But I am a big believer that things fall in place for a reason. But I also feel really really confident in moving forward with the investors that we have and I believe where the universe kind to point you in the right direction. You just have to ride the wave. 


Josh: Well good luck. Thank you Chelsie. 


Chelsie: Thank you. Great to catch up and thanks so much for the news I appreciate it. 


Josh: Happy to help.


So here’s the thing, if entrepreneurs never started businesses that might compete with an Amazon, Google or an Apple… no startups would ever start … up!


But then, from the other side of this, if you’re an investor. And a big tech company seems to be sniffing around an entrepreneur's idea … yeah. I’d think twice too about investing.


But regardless, it sounds like Chelsie is doing just fine. It looks like Charles is investing, and Chelsie’s found lots of other investors who are ready and willing to laugh in the face of danger.


That’s all for today’s episode, we are thrilled to be back in your ears. I’ve got some exciting new episodes coming your way. So stay tuned.


Oh and, if you’re enjoying the show. Please take the opportunity to tell your friends about us and maybe even leave a review on Apple Podcasts. That would just rock my socks.


Our show is produced by me, Josh Muccio, Kareem Maddox, and Molly Donahue. We are edited by Blythe Terrell.

We are mixed by Enoch Kim. Original music composed by The Muse Maker. Our Theme Music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.

Thanks to Lisa Muccio for planning the recording of this pitch.

We discovered Shipsi because of an introduction from Howie Diamond with Alpha Bridge Ventures. And if you’re a startup founder who’s raising funds, you should definitely apply to pitch on our show, you can go to to do that.

And as a reminder, no offer to invest is being made to or solicited from the listening audience on today’s show.

All right -- you’ve been listening to The Pitch from Gimlet Media. We’ll be back with a brand new episode, next Wednesday.

Phil NadelProfile Photo

Phil Nadel

Investor on The Pitch

Phil Nadel is the Founder and Managing Director of Forefront Venture Fund and of Forefront Venture Partners, one of the largest syndicates on AngelList. He has started and sold several companies and has invested in more than 200 startups with several exits.

Jillian Manus // Structure CapitalProfile Photo

Jillian Manus // Structure Capital

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 1–10

Jillian Manus is Managing Partner of an early-stage Silicon Valley venture fund, Structure Capital. Branded “Architects of the Zero Waste Economy," they invest in underutilized assets and excess capacity. She was named one of the top 25 early-stage Female Investors by Business Insider in 2021. Jillian serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, these include: Stanford University School of Medicine Board of Fellows, NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Michael HyattProfile Photo

Michael Hyatt

Investor on The Pitch

Michael Hyatt is a serial entrepreneur and active investor. He is the co-founder of BlueCat, (acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners), and previously co-founded Dyadem (acquired by IHS). He currently serves as a Director of BlueCat and is also a weekly business commentator on CBC, is the Host of “Business Unplanned”, a podcast to help small businesses.

Nicole VerkindtProfile Photo

Nicole Verkindt

Investor on The Pitch

Nicole Verkindt is an entrepreneur, investor and CEO. Nicole was StartUp Canada's 2019 Woman Entrepreneur Ambassador of the year, named StartUp Canada's 2017 Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, was a Dragon on CBC's "Next Gen Den", and was one of Adweek's 2018 "Toronto Brand Stars.”

Charles Hudson // Precursor VenturesProfile Photo

Charles Hudson // Precursor Ventures

Investor on The Pitch Seasons 2–10

Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner and Founder of Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies. Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a Partner at SoftTech VC. In this role, he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure.

Chelsie Lee

Cofounder of Shipsi