Great Ideas Don’t Always Equal Revenue
Startups close down every day. Thousands of them fail before even getting off of the ground. It comes as no surprise when we hear of a locally based startup fail, especially with the population of entrepreneurs that we have here in Austin. But when we heard yesterday that Outbox was shuttering its doors, it is safe to say we are extra bummed.
Outbox launched early last year with a mission to revolutionize the way we receive our postal mail. They’d pick up your mail, scan it, digitize it, and you could see it from any mobile device with the Outbox app…all for just $5 a month. Being in the Austin area, we had our eyes on this local company from when we first heard about it. It was a GREAT idea. Alas, great ideas are not everything you need when you’re trying to build a business.
The main reason cited for the shutdown was the lack of demand, along with the high cost of operations for every customer gained. At $5 a month for just about 2,000 users, Outbox could no longer operate, let alone turn a profit.
We understand how there could be a lack of demand for a service like Outbox. The United States Postal Service is far from perfect (or even good), but it’s still serviceable, plus as much as Outbox wanted to convince prospective customers that it was okay for complete strangers to pick up, open, sort, and scan your personal mail, there is almost a cultural/psychological barrier to being completely okay with it.
We hope Outbox’s founders, Evan Baehr and Will Davis come back soon though. Because if they can bring an idea like Outbox to a company that has an easier time making money, that’s something that could be great.