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Mention 'courier services' and plenty of people will emit a groan. All too often conventional couriers fail to arrive on time, or fail to deliver on time, never mind the paperwork that’s entailed. Sadly, though, they’re a necessary evil given the South African Post Office’s less than stellar reputation. Local startup Wumdrop wants to change that, one delivery – many of them peculiar – at a time.
Launched last year in Cape Town in May, and Johannesburg in December, Wumdrop will deliver just about anything (with a few obvious exceptions, such as drugs) to anywhere in the cities in which it operates. And the best part? No paperwork. The whole transaction is managed online or through the company’s apps for Android and iOS.
WumDrop charges R12 per kilometre (with a minimum fare of R50) and doesn’t change by weight or dimension. I used Wumdrop for the first time in Cape Town earlier this year when I needed a stack of magazines moved from the southern suburbs directly into my grubby paws.
I opened the app, set the collection point and set the destination as the coffeeshop in which I was working. One hour and R90 later (billed directly to my credit card) my magazines had arrived. As proof of delivery, the Wumdropper took a photo using a tablet computer of the invoice book I’d signed and emailed it to me.
Wumdrop cofounder Simon Hartley tells me the company has delivered everything from a samurai sword to a bonsai tree to a very valuable diamond bracelet which came with its own bodyguard (effectively turning Wumdrop into a once-off taxi service).
There have also been requests to move cats, live goldfish and a surprisingly large number of requests to deliver bottles of high-end champagne, usually from someone’s house to the restaurant in which they’re having dinner (in Cape Town, of course).