Want to body your own Postagram? You could with Lob, a new developer API for amalgam press and aircraft casework into applications that’s clearly aperture its doors today. The aggregation makes it accessible for a business to apparatus a programmatic agency of printing, packaging, and aircraft items on demand, including things like business cards, photos, posters, letters, postcards, checks, stickers, and more. During its abrupt testing period, Lob saw sign-ups from barter like CrowdTilt, ZenPayroll, LendUp, and others.
Founded aloof a brace of months ago by University of Michigan grads Harry Zhang and Leore Avidar, Lob is accommodating in Y Combinator’s summer 2013 program. Today, it already has hundreds of barter and is breeding revenue, the founders say.
Prior to Lob, Zhang formed as a artefact administrator at Microsoft, breadth he saw contiguous the charge for such a service. “I was alive on a attack at Microsoft breadth we had to put calm offers for all these altered barter – all accepting to go to altered destinations, all of which had to be customized,” Zhang explains. “And back it got to the allotment breadth we had to accept them printed and mailed, we accomplished there was no acceptable way to absolutely automate that process.” Instead, the aggregation had interns sitting in a mailroom for a brace of weeks, capacity envelopes.
Meanwhile, Avidar’s accomplishments includes time spent aboriginal at Citigroup again at Amazon Web Services, breadth he abstruse added about how billow platforms work. He says that basically, with Lob, they’ve taken the AWS archetypal and activated it to a altered blazon of industry.
The account arrives at a time back abounding of today’s printers aren’t as technically adeptness as the startups and added businesses that charge to use them. Their earlier systems use SOAP and XML, attached admission to what’s possible. Meanwhile, the charge for online press grows – it accounted for 18 percent of all press in 2011, and is accepted to ability 30 percent aing year, and 50 percent by 2017.
But clashing casework provided by consumer-facing retailers like FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko’s), or Uprinting.com, for example, Lob is not meant to be a consumer-facing solution, but rather a apparatus for developers. Using the company’s RESTful API, developers can accelerate one-off book jobs as needed, or can appeal aggregate appraisement back affairs in bulk.
The founders see a few primary use cases for its service. One is accomplishment for businesses that don’t appetite to authority account – like a aggregation that sells posters, for instance. Because Lob supports capricious abstracts and customizations, addition breadth actuality targeted is in industries like accounts or absolute estate, breadth businesses may be appropriate to accelerate things like bills, invoices or statements through the concrete mail. It could additionally be advantageous in HR, breadth companies are always commitment out forms to employees, like new appoint packets. And finally, Lob can be acclimated to accelerate out concrete checks, like those handled by a amount service.
Lob’s API offers an abode ysis account (free for U.S. abode and $0.15 for anniversary all-embracing address), additional Smart Packaging, breadth it will aces the best packaging blazon automatically unless a developer specifies otherwise. And it routes jobs to the aing printer in its arrangement to save on aircraft times and cost.
Avidar says that Lob’s arrangement of printers is one of its able suits. The printers are not accustomed book shops, but ones which accept been connected by accepting custom integrations congenital into their systems and workflows. The are the HP Indigo’s and the Heidelberg’s of the world, he adds, not the Vistaprint’s.
The Sunnyvale-based startup is alone a brace of months old, and has been growing by 300 percent every anniversary during its abrupt alpha and beta trials. Today, the founders are the alone two full-time advisers and they appetite to accumulate things baby for now, and authority off on fundraising as they accept advantageous customers. Interested users can assurance up for Lob here or apprehend through the developer documentation.
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