EasyPost Shipping Label API Startup Prepares For Its IPO – Forbes

At $4.89 trillion, e-commerce represents 14.3% of global retail sales and is expected to rise to $6.39 trillion or 21.8% of all retail sales by 2024, according to eMarketer. Every e-commerce transaction requires that a retailer choose a shipping service that is increasingly a next-day or same-day service—from anywhere to anywhere in the world.
That requires the production of a lot of shipping labels for which there was no simple, automated process prior to 2012. That’s when EasyPost was founded. The company provides a simple postage API that allows developers to integrate shipping quickly and painlessly into any e-commerce application.
EasyPost Founder and CEO Jarrett Streebin.
“I had an e-commerce business and I needed to connect USPS to my website to where customers could generate a shipping label on the website. I started looking at a company called Endicia, that has since been bought by Stamps.com. But they were basically a portal for USPS. It seemed to be lacking compared to what I saw with other APIs. Given that, I said, ‘Well, why don’t I just try and do a Stripe for shipping?’,” EasyPost founder and CEO Jarrett Streebin says. 
Streebin didn’t build the API at first. He just put up a website saying he had that API to see if anybody would sign up, which they did. “I hit number one on Hacker News, which I haven’t done again to this day. That’s a really hard thing to do,” Streebin says. That caught the attention of Kevin Carter who was at SV Angel at the time, who provided some early funding. 
Streebin then applied to join Y Combinator, but didn’t get in his first try, so he buckled down and kept working on the platform. He got accepted into Y Combinator after reapplying in six months. “We just kept building and building, and then we got some really great investors,” Streebin says. Investors included billionaire Ram Shriram, who was one of the first Google investors and who would later join the EasyPost board, as well as Ashton Kutcher, Google Ventures and others.
According to the company, its Shipping API solves complex logistics problems for online merchants, providing the shopping experience customers have come to expect. As a result, the company now has thousands of customers shipping billions of packages using their Shipping API each month. Customers range in size from large, public companies to small businesses. 
In simplifying the description of the company’s business model, Streebin says, “You know all those labels on the packages that arrive? I get a penny on each one.” Now with 150 employees, EasyPost’s fast-growing business has been profitable for some time, attracting significant outside funding. While not widely publicised, the company has raised close to $100 million, according to Streebin. The company is planning for an IPO the middle of next year.
Streebin describes his approach to creating a thriving business from what seems like a simple idea and evolving it over time but sticking to its original premise, “It seemed like such a simple thing. Why didn’t someone else come up with the idea? I don’t know. Certainly, you feel kind of insane for the first five years. I think, that’s what makes people entrepreneurs is the ability to be comfortable feeling weird. Or feeling like you’re doing something that’s peculiar. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I had the same ideas as everybody else. And then things develop, and you get enough traction to stick with it.”
Early on, it was fundraising that helped the company stay at it. And then customers helped the company evolve and iterate to meet customer demand. “You just keep building and building. My model growing up was always a guy named Cal Ripken, who was an amazing baseball player who on top of that showed up to work every day,” Streebin says.
Early on, the company had the opportunity to work with Jet.com. “They built their full infrastructure on EasyPost. It saved them a ton of money on shipping, because it allowed them to use regionals in the East and West Coast, and it materially affected the outcome at the acquisition. And then they took all that technology and they built it inside Walmart and then Walmart became a big customer,” Streebin says.
Streebin grew up in Norman, Oklahoma and was introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship and the possibilities of the Web at an early age. “When I was 12 or 13, my best friend got featured in Yahoo Magazine for a website he built. I just remember we were in the car with him and his mom, and his mom, who was looking at the magazine, goes, ‘Oh, look, Cody, your website.’ So, I said, ‘Well, teach me how to do that.’ And so, he taught me how to make websites. And I thought this was fun,” Streebin says.
The idea that a webmaster back then could make a salary of $100,000 beckoned Streebin to California and the Bay Area. He went to UC Berkley where he became more interested in business than computer science and graduated with a business degree.  After college, he wanted to race his bike professionally, but soon realized he could never make a living at it. Instead, he took an office job at tech research company 451. “I got my job because I was the only kid he called. I applied to a Craigslist ad. And so, I went for an interview, and I just showed up,” Streebin says. He was researching SEC filings and indexing mergers and acquisitions, but found the job limiting and moved on to another job at a family office.
“It was kind of one of these things where my boss would show up for a few days a week for three hours or so and I’d pitch him ideas. The rest of the time, I was just off networking and trying to find interesting ideas. Through some circumstance and some of my own interests, I just ended up in this, and meeting Y Combinator founders. And that was by far the best way to get going as a startup. Still is,” says Streebin.
Unusual for what could still be considered a start-up, EasyPost recently announced a partnership with McLaren’s F1 racing team. “We haven’t done marketing in years. Last year, we doubled our volume. So, we didn’t particularly need marketing or want to encourage any more competition. We thought we had a great product and revenue growth was fine. But recently, in advance of the IPO next year, we thought it was a good idea to get our name out there a bit and get people familiar with the brand. Their commitment to technology, albeit a different area, is very similar to our commitment to technology. And so, the trickle-down effects of their greatness is I think profound and felt all over,” Streebin says.