With e-commerce startups breaking into eyewear, beauty, shaving, monthly subscriptions products and more, there will be plenty of need for boxes and packaging.
That’s where Pakible, a Y Combinator-backed startup, is hoping to come in.
Founded by Nick Carson and Phillip Akhzar, who used to work for iPhone and iPad repair startup iCracked, the company makes it simple for any business to prototype and then ship product packaging.
While at iCracked, they had done packaging for phone and tablet buyback programs, but found that it was tedious.
“It was taking forever,” said Carson, who said he’d have to call back and forth between dozens of providers to find the right fit. “It’s a nightmare, and we wanted it to be easy. We assumed there would be a Teespring for packaging. But there wasn’t, so we decided to go ahead and do it.”
Akhzar added, “Manufacturers have this highly optimized process with machines that produce the packaging. Once everything’s ready to go, they just churn them out rapidly with thousands of units an hour. They’ve invested a lot of money in this. But it doesn’t feel like any of them invested in the customer side of the business to actually help people to get started easily. That part is all over faxes and e-mails.”
Carson and Akhzar vowed to each other that they’d tinker with this idea for six months. In that time, they were able to get $40,000 worth of letters of intent. Now, they’re at orders for 800,000 units.
If you go on their website, there’s some online box designer software where you can choose the type and size of packaging and then customize it with your own text, logos and colors.
They start clients off at $1 a box, which they emphasize is significantly lower than what you’d get to do a test-run at different individual packaging makers. The point of that pricing is to get customers hooked for larger orders. The company can handle quantities as small as 10 and as large as 10,000 units.
nThey also have an in-house designer for more complex needs like custom logo designs. They have racked up partnerships with many kinds of packaging manufacturers who have different techniques and specialize in lithography or photography.
“Part of our vision is to get to that point where people have multiple options. Right now, our products are focused for early starters like companies that are launching their own brands,” Carson said, referring to Pakible’s LaunchPAK Series. “But we’ll have upgraded levels of service.”
Among their initial clients are Level Frames, which does on-demand custom-sized framing. Then there’s Sirum, another Y Combinator-backed non-profit that redistributes unused prescription medications.