Online postage retailer E-Stamp Corp. has received a $5 million (US$) infusion of cash from two German companies and will use it to build on the 10,000 customers it has signed up since launching August 9th.
E-Stamp lined up Deutsche Post, the largest postal service in Europe, and Deutsche Telekom, the leading telecommunications service provider in Germany, as equity investors. E-Stamp said it plans to use some of the new funds to seek approval to expand its business into international markets.
Currently, E-Stamp’s online postage is only approved for mail sent within the United States. Since no foreign postage authorities have certification processes to approve Internet postage, E-Stamp will have to use some of its new money to educate the world about its product.
The rest of the German companies’ investments will fund E-Stamp’s effort to broaden its distribution channels, continue marketing its online stamps and further develop its Internet infrastructure.
Meanwhile in the United States
Today, E-Stamp announced distribution relationships with Ingram Micro, Digital River and LinkShare that will put its product in thousands of retail stores and catalogs and on e-commerce Web sites.
The three companies manage distribution of office supplies and related goods to traditional retail stores, including national chains Staples and Best Buy. They also have relationships with such major online retailers as Beyond.com.
LinkShare Corp., which offers affiliate marketing programs for online companies, plans to add E-Stamp to its service in October. LinkShare will also track and report traffic affiliates drive to the E-Stamp site.
The Time is Now
“The approaching holiday season means that small businesses everywhere are looking at ways to improve efficiency and production, including the time-consuming process of shipping orders to customers and managing high-quantity mailings,” E-Stamps said in a statement. “This year will be critical to the future success of e-commerce, a sector heavily populated by small and home-based businesses with success often judged on their ability to fulfill and deliver orders to customers on time.”
E-Stamp’s program sells for $49.99. It includes the E-Stamp software, an electronic vault to store the postage downloaded from the Internet and a getting started kit with documentation and labels. Postage sells for $4.99 to $24.99, plus a 10 percent “convenience fee.”
E-Stamp has also forged strategic relationships with Microsoft, Yahoo!, Compaq, Excite@Home, America Online, Francotyp-Postalia and Avery Dennison.