For San Francisco and Austin residents who spend days out of town and can’t collect their mail, as well as those who stay close to home but can’t be bothered to check their mailboxes themselves, there’s a little startup called Outbox that’s willing to take care of all those pesky pieces of paper for them. For $7.99 a month, each day an “unpostman” will collect the mail from the mailbox and take it to a place where it’s scanned and put into a virtual inbox. Subscribers can then review those items and decide which ones will be physically redelivered to their mailbox (also by the unpostman) and which ones will be shredded after 30 days.
What’s the Big Idea?
Turning snail mail into something closer to e-mail is only one goal Outbox founders Will Davis and Evan Baehr want to reach. Information on the mail itself can be used to create what they call a “mail graph” for each subscriber. They have also done pilot promotions with partnering companies, including one that delivered free product samples to subscribers who responded online to an offer posted to their inbox. Of their endeavor, Davis says, “What to many people sounds like an added cost or unnecessary or silly…is actually enabling us to build things that create value.”