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Meet an Innovator: James Chin Moody, founder of Sendle – a company creating a service that rivals Australia Post.
Tell us a bit about why you founded Sendle?
Many small businesses and consumers only have one option if they want to send a parcel: lining up at the post office. This has completely distorted this market, to the extent that it has allowed Australia Post to get away with excessive pricing and low quality customer service for a long time.
However, there are other providers that can deliver packages door to door, but are very hard for small businesses to access. We realised that if we used clever software to unlock the capacity of these providers, we could create a service that could rival Australia Post.
And the price advantage can be very significant. For example, it costs over $120 to send 25kg from Sydney to Broome at the post office. Sendle can send it for under $25. Sending 10kg from Perth to Melbourne costs $37 at the post office, and only $18.75 with Sendle. For many small businesses, this can make a huge difference.
Sendle unlocks big business delivery infrastructure for everyone. And by doing this we level the paying field for small business all over Australia.
In the early days, how did you ensure momentum?
We have been very lucky to have found a great problem to solve. Who doesn’t want to save a half-hour by not having to line up at the post office? Focussing on a “real world” problem helped us to move forward and stay on the journey.
We also have the most amazing team of passionate, dedicated and experienced people working for Sendle. I love spending time with them.
What has been your biggest challenge personally so far driving the company?
Given the difference in price and service level between Sendle and Australia Post, we are fortunate that there are a great many possible markets that we could be addressing. However, this is also a great challenge. As a startup we need to stay focussed, and saying “no” is hard!
We have a company philosophy that helps us to say “no.” We believe it is better to try and create a 100 percent solution for 80 percent of the market than an 80 percent solution for 100 percent of the market. This means that you need to make tough choices about who you are building your product for – in our case for the millions of small businesses out there that deserve a better delivery solution – and ignore requests for features that are not aimed at this market.
What is a daily ritual that helps you maintain focus?
As a software company we use a great number of tools that help us maintain focus. One great one is Pivotal Tracker, which allows us to break our journey into a number of “stories” that we implement. While this started off as a development tool, we have extended this discipline to other areas of the company, such as operations and marketing.
What does it feel like to take on a mammoth competitor like Australia Post?
At first it was a little daunting to take on a national icon such as Australia Post. However, we realised that there are actually two Australia Posts – one which provides an essential service of letter delivery and one which delivers parcels in a competitive environment.
Ultimately we believe that more competition in this space is a good thing. Could you imagine Australia with only one bank, or only one airline?
What is your main piece of advice for Australian entrepreneurs navigating their chosen industry?
My main piece of advice would be to find a great problem to solve that has lots of “pain” for your chosen market. Often I talk to entrepreneurs who have some great technology, but the problem they are solving just isn’t great enough to encourage their customers to change habits or providers. If you can clearly identify and articulate this problem, you are well on the way to an amazing business.