Amazon's book billionaire Bezos bets big on paperless transactions

Doxo wants to make all those bills and statements you receive in the U.S. mail go the way of the dodo.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

My biggest challenge with receiving bills electronically is my fear that the alerts about same will get buried in my e-mail, and I'll forget to pay them. I know I'm not alone, but that hasn't stopped Bezos Expeditions and venture capitalist Mohr Davidow Ventures from backing a new paperless transactions player, doxo, with $5.25 million in funding.

The startup, which aims to "revolutionize paperless transactional mail adoption," is hoping to help all those companies that send you bills and account statements on a regular basis -- utility companies, insurance and banking firms, and various telecommunications service providers -- cut out the paper. These and other companies deliver an estimated 55 billion documents every year in the United States alone. Not only does this cost a ridiculous amount of money in printing and postage -- upwards of $35 billion annually -- but it is enormously wasteful. Doxo figures that even cutting 30 percent of that volume would save 3 million trees, more than 150 million gallons of gas, and 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Those are some pretty big numbers.

In theory, it's a great idea to go paperless, but there are some pretty serious barriers to adoption. For one thing, if you go paperless with everyone, you have to log into a gazillion different web sites to make the payments. Things need to be simpler, which is something that Doxo is hoping to fix.

I also think electronic bills or paperless transactions if you want to use that term instead, are a very generational concept. There is nothing that you can say to me that will convince me that my in-laws, or my husband for that matter, will EVER move to paperless transactions. None of them use a computer, nor do any of them plan to do so. Personally speaking, I'm eager to go paperless, but haven't seen an option yet that makes it easy for me. So, I'll be watching doxo carefully.

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