Sheehan Toufiq’s first entrepreneurial endeavor was in college, when he started selling various household goods on eBay and Amazon. While the growth of his business should’ve been cause for celebration, Toufiq grew frustrated with the struggles of shipping logistics as he would spend entire days packing up orders, often being forced to skip class and unable to focus on other parts of the business.
“As time went on, I put some systems in place and optimized some processes,” says Toufiq. “I did a little research and found out about fulfillment companies and how dated they were. A lot of these fulfillment companies wouldn’t even talk to you if you weren’t doing a certain volume and were hesitant to bring you onboard. It was very intimidating because these were really huge companies, where their clients had a lot of volume.”
After he convinced his classmates at Georgia State University to tackle the problem during a group project, Toufiq saw the potential of his fulfillment platform idea.
“That idea was always in the back of my head — an inventory management tied to a fulfillment center, where a customer can easily, like as simple as using Dropbox, manage their inventory and fulfill their product orders,” says Toufiq.
Out of his personal frustration came e-commerce shipping startup Airlift. The platform syncs up with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, eBay, Amazon, Easy, and Woocommerce, among others.
To get on the platform, you create a shipment notice with your inventory and send it to Airlift to store in their warehouse. If you’re in their first market of Atlanta, they can even swing by and pick it up. Airlift takes care of all the shipment logistics from that point.
From a seller’s standpoint, you’re able to view your entire inventory from the dashboard as well as fulfill incoming orders with a few clicks. The platform sends a notice to the warehouse and the Airlift team packs up your item and ships it — easy.
Toufiq reached out to potential customers to get feedback on his product and tweak it to fulfill their needs as well as his own as he jumped back into his household good business temporarily. He found out that the main pain point among entrepreneurs was shipping costs. Airlift partnered up with the main shipping brands in the U.S. — USPS, UPS, Fedex, and DHL — to provide discounted rates to its customers.
As a founder, you get the peace of mind of fulfilling orders on a timely manner, along with extra time to concentrate on other aspects of the business like marketing and customer experience, says Toufiq.
The SaaS platform is currently bootstrapped with clients already on its roster. Before raising a seed round to scale the platform, Toufiq wants to reach $100K in revenue, which he sees happening in the not-so-distant horizon. “We’re open to the possibility, but it’s not our core focus right now. We want to focus on profitability and revenue before bringing in any cash from outside investors.”
Currently Airlift offers four pricing tiers, depending on the size of the business and amount of orders, so their customers’ e-commerce business can scale their account when needed. Add-on features include tracking numbers, product barcoding, and returns with inventory receivables always free.