Doxo, Backed by Bezos and Mohr Davidow, Comes Out of Stealth, Wants to Help Businesses Go Paperless

5/10/10Follow @gthuang

Score another one for the “Qpass mafia.” A Seattle technology company called doxo, founded by former Qpass employees Steve Shivers, Roger Parks, and Mark Goris (see photo below), has emerged from stealth mode—sort of.

The company has started talking publicly about its background and team, its basic idea, and its funding, but no specifics about its product yet. Let’s start with the funding. Last November, doxo raised a $5.25 million Series A venture round co-led by Seattle-based Bezos Expeditions (the venture organization of Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos) and Silicon Valley-based Mohr Davidow Ventures. The financing was previously reported in the media, but until today, no one had reported the names of the company’s investors.

Here’s what I know so far about the startup. The idea is to help companies and their customers “go paperless” with their mail transactions—things like insurance policies, bank statements, newsletters, and credit card bills. The founding team comes from Qpass, the Seattle mobile commerce firm bought by Missouri-based Amdocs (NYSE: DOX) in 2006. The company describes itself, depending on whom you ask, as either “kickass” or “smartass” (I know which one I’d pick). And its lower-case name is sure to irritate copy editors in the media, on par with Yahoo! and iRobot.

Asked to boil their company culture down to one word—as I am wont to ask—Shivers and Parks came back with “sesquipedalian.” (See “smartass” allusion above.)

Shivers co-founded doxo in late 2008, after leaving Amdocs, where he had served as a senior vice president (at Qpass) and general manager. Parks had expertise in products and business development, while Goris was the senior architect and technology lead. The company started out being self-funded, with some support from angel investors. (The $275 million acquisition of Qpass by Amdocs surely helped the founders bootstrap this operation.)

Doxo is “focused on business relationships conducted through paper mail,” Shivers says. He cites a statistic that 55 billion “transactional documents” are mailed each year, and that this amounts to $35 billion in annual expenses for U.S. businesses—not counting the costs of things like follow-up customer support. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of household accounts have switched over to be entirely paperless. So maybe you pay most of your bills online, but you still get a monthly statement in the mail, or receive other types of policy information via paper.

doxo founders (from left to right) Steve Shivers, Roger Parks, Mark Goris

The goal of doxo is to get rid of all that paper, and save companies money and time in their transactional communications with customers. (Note: this is not related to junk mail, which is an entirely separate category, Shivers says.) It does this by providing a Web-based service that handles transactional records for companies. The startup is in beta trials with about a dozen customers (ranging from small regional firms to big national companies), which, all told, send out around 100 million documents a month, Shivers says. These beta customers include utility firms, insurance companies, and providers in banking, Internet, satellite, phone, travel and cable.

“We’re out there working with enterprises to get a new channel for paperless adoption,” Shivers says. “If there’s anything that’s going to make doxo successful, it’s that we solve a common-sense problem.”

Which is all well and good, but hasn’t this problem been solved already? Apparently not. For consumers, dealing with new logins and passwords for every account is a pain, Shivers says. And lots of people still prefer paper records and monthly reminders. Related companies like … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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