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RIP Outbox

Austin-based mail service closes up shop

By Monica Riese, 1:40PM, Wed. Jan. 22

RIP Outbox

We confess we had our doubts about the Austin-based startup Outbox, but we hate to see any Austin startups as worn out as those guys sound.

The team's goal was simple: They wanted to do away with your physical mail problem. (If you don't think you have one, think again when that stupid Tuesday mailer of coupons arrives and explodes everywhere.) They promised to swoop by, check your mail for you, scan everything, and deliver it to your inbox, then help you unsubscribe from some of those peskier people.

And to some extent, they did.

"In the end, we serviced a little over 2,000 individual customers, had 25,000 people waiting around the country on our waiting list, unsubscribed our customers from over 1 million senders of mail, scanned over 1.5 million pages, and delivered over 250,000 requested mail packages. We also recycled approximately 30 tons of paper, enough to cover 86 football fields."

But after years of trying to wrangle the bureaucracy of the United States Postal Service, get operating costs down to a sustainable level, and "months of testing and refining" possible fixes, Outbox announced yesterday that they were calling it quits on this particular chapter.

Though co-founders Will and Evan promise they're working on a new project that "we believe … has the opportunity to be massively disruptive," we don't yet have any details on that venture. Until we hear more, best of luck to the Outbox team, and we'll leave you with their words of wisdom.

"You may think government organizations are completely, insanely backwards; you are wrong—they are worse."

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