This Young Founder Built a Multimillion Dollar Business

by Rejecting the Silicon Valley Ethos and Being True to Herself

When it comes to entrepreneurship, few things are certain, but one thing you can always count on is that you’re going to hear the word no. This is a lesson that Shippo CEO and co-founder Laura Behrens Wu learned as she worked to get her company off the ground.

As a student, Behrens Wu ran an ecommerce store and found herself running back and forth to the post office on an almost daily basis. While she was interning in San Francisco as part of an MBA that her heart wasn’t really in, she realized that her irritation was likely a real pain point for a lot of people.

She was inspired by the creative energy in Silicon Valley and had a conviction that she could help businesses like hers by giving them a hub to ship their products all over the world without having to deal with different logistics for each carrier.

 So the first-time founder left her MBA program behind, set up shop in a brand new country where she knew very few people and built her company one step at a time — but not before meeting with 125 investors and getting 115 rejections. Behrens Wu says she wouldn’t allow herself to feel discouraged, and used the setbacks, and the fact that the company had customers who valued the service, as fuel to keep moving forward.

“We used each opportunity to get better and improve. The first dozen pitches were terrible. The next several dozens gave us room to practice. The next 50 were strong, but we realized that we weren’t talking to the right prospective investors,” Behrens Wu told Entrepreneur. “The more people we’d meet, the more they would talk about us to each other. After many months, we found partners who not only wanted to invest, but more importantly, cared about our business and vision.”

Her persistence paid off. Today, the German-born 26-year-old has built a platform that assists more than 25,000 businesses with their shipping needs. It has grown from a team of two, Behrens Wu and her co-founder Simon Kreuz, to a staff of 70. The company has raised more than $29 million in funding and in 2017, shipped $2.6 billion worth of gross merchandise across the world.

Behrens Wu shared her insights about trusting yourself and not being afraid to strike out on your own.


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