Outbox founders return with small business loan company

Jun 30, 2014
Austin Business Journal

The founders of Outbox Inc. are back with a new Austin company that loans money to small businesses — a bit earlier than expected


Will Davis and Evan Baehr, who shut down their mail digitizing service in January, have returned with a company called Able Inc. that specializes in what a company blog describes as “collaborative underwriting.”


The idea behind the business model is to reduce the price of loans and to make them available to more small businesses. Able requires borrowers to first have three to five family or friends invest in the first 25 percent of a loan to establish a level of credibility. Able provides the balance and collects regular payments from the borrower and then distributes the proceeds to the other investors, the blog indicates


Davis told me just a couple of weeks ago Able would come out of stealth mode in August or September, but declined to discuss the exact plans for the new business. The Wall Street Journal reported on the nascent company’s business model on June 27. Able has already made more than 40 loans, ranging from $5,000 to $150,000, the Journal reported


Outbox, which launched in late 2011, provided a service in which it digitized the physical contents of customers’ mailboxes, enabling subscribers to decide what they want in hard-copy form or on their computer screens. It employed 10 workers in late 2012 and received more than $7 million in investment capital


Investors included California-based Floodgate Fund LP, California-based Correlation Ventures, Washington, D.C.-based TDF Ventures, California-based Western Technology Investment, New York-based Expansion Venture Capital LLC, and Peterson Capital Management LLC, officials said


When it shut down the service, Davis and Baehr cited higher-than-expected costs for acquiring customers that reached $50 per sales lead



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