Doxo, Aspiring to Become Grand Central for Online Billing, Nabs $10M

2/16/11Follow @curtwoodward

Seattle-based “digital file cabinet” service doxo, which wants to torch that stack of paper bills you get every month, is out with a pretty nice one-two punch today. They’ve landed a significant partner in Puget Sound Energy, the largest electric and natural gas utility in the Puget Sound region, along with a $10 million venture financing.

The Series B cash infusion is being led by a new investor in Sigma Partners. The new round also included Mohr Davidow Ventures and Bezos Expeditions (yes, that Bezos)—two firms that led doxo’s Series A financing in late 2009.

The money will keep doxo growing for the foreseeable future. The company plans to add significantly to their 20-plus employees, particularly in development and marketing.

“We’re in great shape. We’re cranking now,” CEO Steve Shivers says.

Doxo came out of stealth last year with a vision that I’ll call the New Boring – they want to make paperless account management totally routine. The idea is to digitize old-fashioned paper mail from various creditors, service providers and the like, route it to doxo’s website instead of your post office box, and make it easy enough that lots more consumers will go paperless.

The doxo service is meant to be pretty seamless for businesses, without any need to spend money on big IT installations, for instance. It’s free on the consumer end. Doxo hopes to make some of its money by getting businesses to pay a fee for customer communications that pass through doxo’s hub. The more volume of transactions, the more money doxo ought to make. But even while that can add up fast, doxo says it can be a net savings for businesses by cutting bulk mailing costs.

Puget Sound Energy joins Sprint and Kansas City Power & Light as doxo clients.

Doxo also has a newish bill-paying feature—PSE is the first customer to use that side of the business—which isn’t surprising for a company started by veterans of the mobile-commerce firm Qpass. Perhaps more interesting is the idea that doxo’s initial focus hasn’t been just the payment stream, where there are plenty of players, but also the flow of account statements, claim-processing paperwork and other assorted mail.

Doxo sees a greatly underserved market there, with businesses that don’t have a regular consumer billing cycle being skipped by vendors who focus on digitizing payments. Meanwhile, many businesses are still spending tons of money sending out paper statements to customers, even though neither side may particularly want to do that anymore.

Which, Shivers argues, has led to a strange situation: More than half … Next Page »

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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