Always missing the UPS guy? One Chicago company wants to help you out

Sam Dewey

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Online shopping is easy. Actually getting what you ordered safely into your home? That’s another story entirely.

Meet Ben Fornell, a former journalist and passionate online shopper who’s buckling down to make it easier and more reliable to receive packages you order online.

“When I first moved to Chicago, I lived in Lincoln Park and Lakeview and didn’t have a doorman,” Fornell said. “I would constantly get misdelivery notices, and packages left on my front doorsteps were never safe. In this day and age, why can’t we control package delivery from our phones?”

That where Fornell’s new business, Shurpa, comes in. With Shurpa, users enter a specific user code (along with the Shurpa delivery address) on any online delivery form. Then, when packages are shipped to that address, users get an SMS message with photo confirmation that their packages have arrived. Using SMS, users can then arrange for an evening delivery that works around their own schedules.

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Fornell said Shurpa has a pair of competitors (San Francisco’s Doorman and New York City’s Parcel) but is the only service of its kind in Chicago — that is, until Doorman completes its rollout to the city, an expansion which is already underway.

For single instance delivery, users can expect to pay $4 dollars for the first package and an additional $1 for each additional item in the same delivery. Conversely, users can sign on for a monthly membership (at $19/mo) for unlimited receiving and delivery.

In addition to their delivery service, Shurpa has a brick-and-mortar storefront in Lincoln Park that offers on-site pickup from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a dollar a package.

At four employees (including delivery and operations personnel), Fornell said he’s in the midst of raising funds from angel investors with plans to pursue a more formal seed round in the near future.

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