Listening to Bloomberg radio yesterday, I had a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment.
The person being interviewed explained that many NYC residents had a delivery problem that no one was solving. Because they lived in buildings without doormen, there was no one to accept a package when they were at work. Arriving home, they saw that “dreaded” delivery attempted note from UPS or FedEx on the door.
Now there’s an alternative. Through Jesse Kaplan’s new firm, Parcel, consumers can pay $5 to use a custom address that routes their package to Parcel’s Brooklyn warehouse space. Then, that evening, a Parcel driver takes it to their door.
Where are we going? To what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Creating the Business
On the customer side, Kaplan interviewed 70 or so “doorman-less” NYC apartment dwellers. Getting some sense of delivery frequency, the size of packages and what people would be willing to pay, he selected the $5 charge. As for size, the maximum is no bigger than 2 feet in any direction and no more than 30 pounds. You text your preferred hour for the delivery.
Hearing Kaplan’s interview, you just know he is an entrepreneur. He talks about always wanting to grow a business and how he raised $1 million in venture capital. Asked about his staff, he says his five full time employees, his 15 part time operations workers, his cars and warehouse are only the beginning of a billion dollar business.
But still, what makes him an entrepreneur?
Our Bottom Line: Entrepreneurs
Identifying an entrepreneur takes us to a statistical debate. Some of the data focuses on all startups and the number of people who are self-employed. However, economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) said we should focus on a high impact innovative subgroup that threatens the status quo.
In “Small Business Activity Does Not Measure Entrepreneurship,” one group of researchers hypothesizes we can find Schumpeterian entrepreneurs among a society’s most affluent individuals. Looking from 1996-2010 at Forbes’s ranking in 50 countries, they named 996 self-made billionaires whom they called high-impact entrepreneurs.
Using billionaire statistics, they selected the world’s most entrepreneurial countries:
With growth and innovation their goals, people like Parcel’s Jesse Kaplan are high impact Schumpeterian entrepreneurs.