Zumbox pulls the plug on digital post

Digital post mailbox startup Zumbox has announced it will shut down next week, but its Australian partner, Digital Post Australia, intends to continue using the US-based company’s infrastructure.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Zumbox, which launched its service to deliver postal mail — such as bills — in a paperless format to secure digital mailboxes in 2009, has announced it will pull the plug on its service next week.

The company broke the news in an email it sent to its users. The email, which was posted online this week in full by InfoTrends writer Matt Swain, said it was very difficult decision to make.

"At this point, the time and cost required to deliver on the vision is more than the market is prepared to invest," the email read.

"All of us at Zumbox, along with our partners and the mailing community, remain committed to the concept of digital postal mail and have great confidence this capability will one day be the way you receive and manage your postal mail."

In the message, Zumbox told users they should export their digital documents from their digital mailboxes by 14 April if they did not want them to be lost in the shutdown.

The move comes after the company, which was founded in 2006, raised over US$28 million over three rounds of funding — with the last round occurring in late 2010.

Over the past few years, there has been a flurry of interest in digital mailbox services, with organisations in several countries adopting similar technology.

The US-based Zumbox had entered into a number of partnerships with mail and postage organisations internationally, including a 2012 deal with Computershare in Australia to establish its Digital Post Australia (DPA) business.

According to Computershare’s group regional director for Australia and New Zealand, Scott Cameron, the company intends to continue using Zumbox’s infrastructure for the immediate future despite the shutdown.

"Computershare is aware that US-based Zumbox Inc. has announced it is not able to continue business. We can confirm DPA has on-going access to the live system and standard legal protections to secure access moving forward," said Cameron in a statement.

As of last year, Digital Post Australia claimed it had around 1,000 businesses using its service to digitally distribute rates notices and shareholder information to mail recipients.

New Zealand Post also launched its YouPost digital post mailbox service in partnership with Zumbox during 2012.

Australia Post has a similar service, MyPost Digital Mailbox, which it set up in 2012 off the back of Pitney Bowes' Volley secure digital delivery system.

Australia Post locked horns with DPA in a court battle in 2012 over the similarity of their respective digital mail business names, with the Computershare subsidiary winning the right to continue using its name.

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