Mail Bonding

PaperlessPOBox will send your postal mail via E-mail.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

December 6, 2001

2 Min Read

If awards existed for the best- and worst-timed company launches, might have earned both honors this year.

The San Francisco company lets people receive their postal mail via E-mail. Customers are assigned post-office boxes, and retrieves the postal mail. The company extracts the information using automated machinery, scans it, converts it to Adobe PDF files, and E-mails it to customers.

Founder David Nale thought the mail-meets-Internet solution was a good idea when he thought it up two years ago, and so did the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking Fund, which chose Nale as a finalist in its entrepreneurial funding program. Nale decided to launch his privately funded company on the same day that the finalists were slated to make their presentations to the Keep Walking Fund's board in New York. So on the morning of Sept.11, Nale was heading for the meeting spot, just a few blocks from the twin towers.

That meeting didn't happen, for obvious reasons, and Nale was faced with a business plan challenge. Originally, he'd intended to target itinerant business travelers with his service--consultants, salespeople, and others who were constantly on the road or overseas and wanted to receive postal mail without long delays. Business travel took a nosedive, but Nale forged ahead with his plan. Then came an unexpected and unfortunate development that would fuel interest in his service: anthrax via postal mail.

While the anthrax threat hasn't created a tidal wave of business opportunities, it has affected the way potential customers may use his service. "Companies' initial interest is the cost savings we can provide, such as making accounts receivable easier to process," says Nale. What's different now is that instead of just implementing the service for one department, some businesses are considering it for a larger employee base to avoid potential risks associated with postal mail. One facilities-management company, located on expensive real estate, is considering the service to reduce its mailroom size, Nale says.

For individual users, the cost per month begins at $29.95 for black and white images (color is available for a higher fee); business pricing starts at $129.95. For additional fees, will ship specific original documents to customers, archive images on CDs and mail them to customers, and create text-searchable Adobe archives of scanned postal mail.

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