Houston entrepreneur Jeff Fashakin explains Payondelivery.com, a payment and same day delivery service for online sellers using local on-demand marketplaces like Craigslist. They complete your transaction so you don’t even have to leave your sofa.
Gina: Hi, I’m Gina Luna and this is HXTV, championing Houston’s innovators and entrepreneurs, brought to you by PKF Texas, the CPAs and advisors serving Houston’s innovators for over 15 years. My guest, Jeff Fashakin, Founder and CEO of PayOnDelivery. Welcome, Jeff, I’m happy to have you.
Jeff: Thanks for having me.
Gina: Let’s start by talking about you for a minute and then we’ll get to PayOnDelivery. Tell me a little bit about your background.
Jeff: I’m originally from Nigeria. I went to high school and college in England, and moved to Texas right after college and I’ve never left.
Gina: And when you first came to Texas was it to Houston?
Jeff: It was to Houston. I fell in love with the city and the people and stayed. I got married here, and family is here, so I love it here.
Gina: We’re glad you’re here.
Jeff: Thank you so much.
Gina: So, Jeff, you and I visited, I think, about a month ago, and you told me about PayOnDelivery, which I was so excited to learn about this great growing business in Houston. Tell our audience, what is PayOnDelivery?
Jeff: What we do is, basically, we let you buy and sell stuff between two people on free marketplaces like Facebook groups, and the Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist without having to leave your house. The way those transactions happen today is: I want to buy something from you. You live in Houston and I live in Sugarland; I have to get in my car and drive to come meet you, and the reason that has to happen that way is because we have to meet each other to exchange cash, because I’m not going to send money to you first. I don’t trust you. Because I don’t trust you, you have to deliver the product to me. What we’ve built is an integrative payment and shipping engine that allows a buyer to pay after the item is delivered and also secures and guarantees the seller’s payment while offering the convenience of same-day, door-to-door shipment.
Gina: So, you’re protecting both parties, and the transaction and making it easier for everybody?
Gina: I love it.
Jeff: Both parties are totally protected within the transaction and they facilitate and cuts down the friction point when you’re trying to complete a transaction.
Gina: I love it. So, you’ve built a tool that really works with all these other online platforms and marketplace platforms that some of us don’t use for that very specific reason is it just seems like too much trouble. So, for the benefit of our listeners, talk about just exactly how this happens. So, if I have something I want to sell and I’ve posted it on some platform that already exists and somebody has chosen to buy it, what happens?
Jeff: Most of our users use the Facebook Marketplace and the Facebook groups, and apps like OfferUp. You’re selling something on there, and all you do is you go to PayOnDelivery and you create a payment link. That payment link is sent to your buyer when the buyer is ready to purchase from you, or you can add that payment link to your description when you’re posting on the Marketplace. What the buyer simply does is click on that payment link, they enter their address, and it shows them the options they have for shipment to the address. You can have it delivered to you within two hours, you can have it delivered to you by the end of the day, or if you live in a different city you can have it delivered maybe next day or by ground, in 2-3 days. It’s a simple process. The user experience is pretty straightforward. All you are creating is a payment link to allow the buyer to purchase from you.
Gina: But you’ve integrated with shippers, as well, so you’ve taken that headache out of the equation for both parties.
Jeff: Yes. We integrated with Postmates, and FedEx same day and standard services. Postmates is live in 61 cities, so that means we’re live in 61 cities. FedEx is live in 33 cities, as well, all across the country. What we’ve also found is there’s been a lot of demand for heavy items like tables, pool tables, big stuff that people need to carry, so we’re doing an integration right now with a company called Roadie, out of Atlanta, and that should be live in the next 3 months.
Gina: That’s so exciting. You’re far along in the development of this. When did you start? And talk about the growth of the company and kind of where you are now.
Jeff: Actually, when we first started, our target market was Craigslist. We saw the huge gap in people trying to buy and sell stuff online. The biggest part, like I said before, is the friction and the problems you have to go through trying to meet someone. You have to get in a car, drive to a location, you might not know that person and it might not be safe. So, people just let things sit around the house. There are like 130 million US households, and a quarter of them with two-car garages—
Gina: Full of junk.
Jeff: Full of junk. People cannot park in their garages. It’s kind of like a fine line between sitting and holding, but it’s because we really do not have a frictionless way to exchange stuff of value. You have a lot of marketplaces that allow you to display what you’re selling, but then when it comes to completing the transaction, that is where the biggest friction is. We saw that gap and we built the first payment engine, integrated with FedEx standard services. The other part of buying and selling online is it’s very hyperlocal. We’ve seen a huge growth in on-demand, last mile delivery services because people want immediacy. They want to get what they purchased.
Gina: Instant gratification.
Jeff: Instant gratification. I want to get it now, I have the fear of missing out on a deal, so I’m going to make sure I’m close to the seller, I’m going to get, I’m going to get it delivered now, I want to see it, feel it and touch it. So, we saw that the market basically moved towards last mile delivery, local, on-demand delivery. And then, what happened in the past year was actually the market moved towards the product. You had Facebook groups, which were originally groups for people chatting about interests.
Gina: About everything, or nothing.
Jeff: And then they started buying and selling on there because, oh, I’m a runner and I’ve got spare shoes; I want to sell them. Or, I just got married and I’m selling my wedding dress. And then, Facebook saw this and basically built the Marketplace. So, we’ve seen a lot of exciting numbers coming to us from those channels.
Gina: So, you started the company in what year?
Jeff: We started the company, originally, in 2011. Our first product was launched in 2015, because building the payment system and trying to find the right market fit, and then we’ve seen a huge growth in the product towards the new marketplaces as we’ve grown in the past couple of years.
Gina: Like all good entrepreneurs, you’ve had some pivots in there to follow the opportunity.
Jeff: A couple of pivots, a couple of head scratching data to look at and figuring out what actually the users want and what solves the problem in the marketplaces. Now, I think the numbers we’re seeing are quite exciting.
Gina: It sounds like it. What is your team like?
Jeff: We have a team of seven, based here locally, but we also run an office out of San Francisco. Two of our team members are in San Francisco, and probably a couple more are joining this month up there. The team is growing. Hopefully in the next quarter or two we will have a bigger team of engineers here locally in Houston and also build out the team in San Francisco.
Gina: How have you funded your growth to this point? Is this a bootstrap company? Do you have investors?
Jeff: Initially, we were bootstrap, but we’ve been raising the seed round. We’re actually in the middle of—almost about to close that seed round right now. We are looking to get into an institutional round later on this year for our funding round. That has been going quite well.
Gina: That’s awesome. That’s exciting. So, what’s next for the company? Clearly, you’ve got some very powerful partnerships. It sounds like you’re well established in markets. So, what’s next?
Jeff: This growth is our focus right now. This year we have some targets and we are on cost for those. We also have some exciting marketplace partnerships. I can’t tell you about those right now.
Gina: The next episode, right?
Jeff: Yes. So, we are looking at more market penetration. We also have some exciting interests in the global marketplace as well, but we’re not focusing that way. We’re totally focusing on the US market.
Gina: Well, that’s great. I think it’s just another terrific example of a company that’s really filling a market need right here in Houston and growing fast. So, keep up the good work.
Jeff: Thank you so much.
Gina: As we wrap up our conversation, I always ask the question to the entrepreneur, what is it about Houston and growing your company here that you found to be the most useful, the thing that you like the most?
Jeff: I like Houston. I moved here a while ago, and like I said, never left. I think it’s a combination of the ease of doing business. It’s a very business friendly environment. I think Texas generally is. I think the diversity of people. Through that you obviously get diversity of thought. You get great things happening where there’s diversity, and also, when there’s diversity you get good food.
Gina: Absolutely. I agree with that. Well, it’s great to visit with you and congratulations. Keep up the great work. We’re going to continue to watch your success.
Jeff: Thank you so much.
Gina: I’m Gina Luna, here with Jeff Fashakin, and this is HXTV.
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