Thanks to the e-commerce explosion, some 13 billion packages moved through the U.S. last year, piling up on porches and doorsteps from coast to coast. Most of those boxes were delivered without incident, but an estimated 0.2%—totaling 26 million—were stolen by "porch pirates" who swiped the goods before the rightful owner could claim them.
But what if a trusted neighbor could accept the parcel in the recipient's absence? That's the model being pitched by New York-based startup Pickups Technologies, which has created an app that connects online shoppers with a crowd-sourced network of neighbors who can accept packages on their behalf. To use the service, shoppers simply choose the "Ship to Pickups" address option during checkout, and Pickups Technologies takes care of the rest, the firm says.
Now available in the Williamsburg section of New York City's Brooklyn borough, the platform targets the estimated 90,000 packages that are stolen in New York City every day. But the benefits go beyond simply eliminating the headaches assciated with package theft, according to Pickups Technologies Founder and CEO Gabriel Cepeda. It also gives the growing workforce of freelancers and remote employees an opportunity to monetize their time at home by receiving packages and getting paid for every package held, he says.