Campfire Blog

The One Percent Fuel New Ideas

A startup called Outbox could revolutionize the way we get our mail

Starting a business requires capital, and it is thanks to investments by the nation’s top 1% that good ideas can become reality.

My friend Evan Baehr has founded a company called Outbox that could revolutionize the way Americans get their mail. To get it going, he got $2.2 million from venture capitalist Mike Maples Jr., billionaire Peter Thiel, and other angel investors.

Most communications that used to pass through snail mail are obviously better passed through email, and junk mail gets pretty annoying. But there still are some things that people like to receive on printed paper:  Christmas and birthday cards, catalogues, and, for some, maybe even that Publisher’s Clearing House envelope that, who knows, could change your life.

Outbox sets it up so that all your mail goes to them first. They scan each item, which you can view online. If you want it, you let them know and they mail it to you. They’ll shred anything you don’t want. So it might take an extra day or two to get a greeting card, but you’ll only get mail delivered that you actually want.

These are the types of ideas that spur economic growth, the ideas that made America into what it is. And they’re made possible not by government programs, but by industrious, visionary private citizens.

The website Betakit has a profile of Outbox here (1.5 pages/900 words).


  1. Bob Viola

    Joe-

    Thought you and our fellow Express Riders would enjoy this update on Outbox:

    “Mail startup Outbox just announced that it’s shutting down its current service. After a pilot program in Austin, Outbox launched the service in San Francisco a year ago, and it raised a $5 million Series A over the summer. Outbox says there just weren’t enough people signing up to pay for the service, at least given the company’s costs. That may not come as a huge surprise to the critics who found the idea impractical or downright creepy.”

    So my question is: how much of that five million dollars did your patriotic, job-creating buddy pocket before he ran this venture into the dirt?

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