Outbox, as a reminder, would collect and scan your postal mail on your behalf, allowing you to view it online. The service first launched in Austin before expanding to San Francisco in 2013. Though an interesting experiment, the company struggled to grow its user numbers, indicating there just wasnt enough demand for its service. So the team decided to shut down its operations earlier this year. The new company Able is not up-and-running at this time, but is expected to launch later this summer. In the meantime,co-foundersEvan Baehr and Will Davishave shared a blog post detailing their vision. They explain that, with Able, theyre looking to serve the Fortune 5 million -the 5.8 million small businesses that represent the backbone of the American economy, theysay. These companies generate billions in revenues and employ 49% of our workforce, yet the majority of them cannot find reliable and affordable sources of credit, it continues. Able will help to provide credit to smaller entrepreneurs using a method to price risk through what theyre calling collaborative underwriting. Though the name sounds like it might be leveraging the so-called wisdom of the crowds for something like peer-to-peer lending, thats not quite the case. Instead, the post says, theyre innovating on the information layer, not simply the capital layer. In other words, theyre using the crowds wisdom to price the loans, not entirely fund them.
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Mail Digitization Startup Outbox Relaunches As Able, A Collaborative Small Business Loan Provider | TechCrunch
Though differentiated by its methods, Able will compete in a broader market with a number of other lending-focused startups, peer-to-peer and otherwise, including Google-backed Lending Club , CAN Capital , OnDeck , Zidisha , Prosper , SoFi , and others. Before its public launch, Able has already loaned 40 growing businesses$5,000 to $150,000. Founded 2011 Overview Outbox digitizes your mail. Outbox will pick up and digitize your postal mail three times a week. Request any mail item and well deliver to you.
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