Outbox, The Digital Postal Mail, Raises $5 Million In Series A Funding

Though the thought of somebody else handle your postal mail, might make you a bit uncomfortable, the fact is that most of the communication in the modern day is all virtual and digital, rather than being postal. Postal mail, then becomes junk or trash. The startup, Outbox, gives you the leverage to convert all the postal mail into digital.

After you sign up to Outbox, the company drops by your physical mailbox three times a week. It, then digitizes the content and makes it available online. The company makes a copy of your mailbox key from a photo you send in. After picking up the paper mail or other items, all of it is delivered to you digitally. Users are also alerted that they have a package waiting for them when this occurs. Outbox claims its service is very secure and can’t cause any leak in the information.

This ‘un-postmen’ service, as they call it, also develops a close relationship with the users, giving them the facility of the mail being delivered to them, as and when they want. It was started by Evan Baehr and Will Davis.

This startup has raised $5 million in Series A funding. It was led by previous investor Floodgate and contained investments from Founders Fund, Correlation Ventures, TDF Ventures, WTI, Expansion VC, and Peterson Ventures, and others. It raised from over 80 people using AngelList. Outbox had raised $2.2 million back in 2011 too. Earlier this year, it was also being speculated that it would take on additional outside investment again in order to expand its service to other markets such as Washington DC, LA, New York, Chicago and Boston.

Davis says, “I had this crazy idea that I wanted a Dropbox for my snail mail. I had this overwhelming pent-up frustration with postal mail.

Co-founder Baehr iterates, “Will is a bit more focused on efficiency, while I spend more time thinking about how we can hold onto the more beautiful elements of mail.

Davis further explains, “Postal mail delivery is really only one of many potential applications for the Outbox service. Others may include things like bill pay or check deposit, for example. Those are new applications we see layered on to the mail graph. Our primary concern with the mail system is essentially being able to index and graph the mail across your sender and user base. When you understand that data better…you can layer on other really cool applications. Some of these apps may launch over the next few months.

He admits, “It’s a big swing for the fences type play that’s going to be hard to pull off. But if you do pull it off, it could have dramatic social and political change.”

Outbox was launched at $4.99 monthly service. Since then, it has processed 150,000 mail images. This also entails logging over 17,000 miles by un-postmen. The journey till here, though, hasn’t been easy. Outbox, first, went through a beta test in Austin and had only 3 percent of the 500 testers cancelled. Thereafter, it went live in San Francisco, where it capped its beta at 500 users. The wait list, now, has thousands lined up.

Last year, competitor Zumbox, founded back in 2009, raised $10 million in Series C funding. It doesn’t charge end users, unlike Outbox, but doesn’t have a significant numbers of users as well.

Another service involving digital postal mail called PaperKarma was acquired by an online identity startup, Reputation.com for a huge sum.

With postal mail becoming lesser significant in the digital age, the U.S. Postal Service is now planning to stop Saturday delivery of mails. But that won’t pose a problem for the citizens, for whatever Outbox is doing, it’s actually building its own delivery network covered with apps that won’t be obsolete anyday, even if the Postal Mail is.

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