Airposted is testing a peer-to-peer model for international shipping - Technical.ly DC

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Oct. 6, 2016 8:01 am

Airposted is testing a peer-to-peer model for international shipping

The brand-new company is a side project for Brickyard marketing director Raisa Rahman.
What if all these people could help with international shipping?

What if all these people could help with international shipping?

(Photo by Flickr user Anne Worner, used under a Creative Commons license)

Tahur in Bangladesh wants an iPhone 7. If I happened to be traveling in that direction I could pick it up for him, and he’d pay me for in-person delivery. See, for Tahur that’d still be cheaper than trying to buy an iPhone 7 in Bangladesh, and on my end I’d make a little travel cash.

I’m not headed to Bangladesh (at the moment), but I know Tahur wants to buy an iPhone 7 because I saw his solicitation on Airposted — a new peer-to-peer international shipping platform.

The concept is this: A platform to connect a buyer who is looking to obtain something from another part of the world (that they can’t get or is too expensive to get shipped traditionally) with a traveler who is already headed in that direction (and willing to pick said item up for a negotiable fee). Airposted gets a 5 percent service fee on all transactions.

“Airposted is on a mission to make the world smaller by enabling buyers to shop for goods from anywhere in the world and have it delivered to them by a traveler who is already heading their way,” the website proudly declares.

Airposted, which launched a few weeks ago, is a new project for Raisa Rahman, whose day job is in marketing at the Paul Singh-founded coworking spot Brickyard. Rahman founded Airposted about four months ago with her cousin and cousin’s friend. The three have experienced the difficulties of international shipping first-hand, and felt as though a peer-to-peer model could provide an answer.

“It’s working so well in other areas,” Rahman told Technical.ly, citing ridesharing services, homesharing services and more. Why not shipping?

It’s an interesting theory — though not without its challenges.

One that comes to mind immediately: How does the platform deal with illegal substances? Rahman told Technical.ly the primary deterrent is common sense — as the traveler, you’d be the one on the hook for transporting anything you shouldn’t. “You as a traveler should know better,” she said.

And yet, the international drug trade continues to exist, indicating that transporting illegal substances across borders is potentially more a matter of price point than anything else.

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But Rahman really believes that a peer-to-peer model is what’s missing from the world of shipping. “I definitely see this being a thing for the future,” she said, indicating that she hopes Airposted will lead the charge. And despite how new this is, the company has already seen its first transaction — a U.S.-based buyer looking for a specific type of soap from Greece.

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