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Girvan Business Sold to Industry Giants – Ayrshire Post (UK)

A tiny Girvan business started by a husband and wife team in their back room has been sold to global industry leaders.

Boxby Ltd, which brings couriers and their customers together, sealed the deal with Texas-based uShip Inc this week.

Sandra and Alistair Patterson, who founded Boxby, are delighted although they refused to reveal how much they made from the sale.

Sandra told the Post: “It was a natural exit for us. UShip are the biggest in the world at what they do. They are looking to expand on their presence in Europe and therefore they’ve kept me on as a consultant for UK based operations.

“It all happened very quickly, negotiations only started in February.”

Boxby was founded in 2007 and within months the courier search company had been shortlisted for two top awards – Boxby reached the Scottish final of the 2008 HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards and Sandra reached the shortlist for Most Enterprising Business in the Association of Scottish Businesswomen Awards.

It was while selling antiques on-line that Sandra realised just how hard it was to find reliable, affordable couriers covering the areas she worked in.

At the same time, couriers often found it hard to operate efficiently.

It struck her that there were hundreds of customers looking for couriers and hundreds of couriers driving round with half empty vans.

And so, the idea for Boxby Ltd was born and it went live.

The target market included the general public, for whom price is usually more important than speed of delivery; small businesses especially those selling on-line; and couriers looking for extra work.

It wasn’t long before it attracted the attention of uShip.

UShip, which was founded in 2003 and launched its website in 2004, reached profitability during 2008 and has met or exceeded all its projected milestones.

Last year, CEO Matt Chasen said the company doubled its revenue compared with 2008 and planned to expand its business in Europe, Canada and Australia.

Couriers and businesses post their listings on the uShip website for free.

The couriers bid to move a user’s goods, and the user then selects a mover.

The company, which employed 50 workers in late 2009, topped $125 million worth of transactions during its first five years.

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