You’ve Got Mail: Earth Class Mail Revamps After New Execs Take Over

San Antonio—Earth Class Mail, a 14-year-old company that digitizes snail mail for businesses, has announced a few upgrades to its product, including search features, the ability to share content over e-mail, and custom tags, among others.

The new look and features are a reflection of a new CEO, Jess Garza, who took the helm of the company in December, as well as a new director of product, Nicole Hairston, who joined in May. Garza is the second leader of the business since it was acquired in late December 2016 by Scaleworks, the San Antonio “venture equity” firm that buys software-as-a-service businesses with existing revenue and works closely with the companies to help them keep growing. Doug Breaker, who was CEO when Earth Class Mail was acquired from Xenon Ventures, stayed on to help the transition before Scaleworks hired a new manager, which is part of the investment firm’s model, according to a spokesman.

The change to Earth Class Mail is a part of the company’s effort to not only update a customer portal that was difficult to navigate, but to give customers features they wanted, Garza and Hairston say. An improved search capability helps clients like attorneys or property managers who need to manage countless documents for numerous clients, Hairston says. Earth Class mail also improved integrations with cloud programs such as Google Drive and Dropbox, Hairston says.

“We’re excited to have it be more about mail, and to help our customers be more paperless,” Hairston says. (You can read more about the changes here.)

The business itself has been growing since Garza took over, she says. The company doesn’t disclose exact figures, but its topline revenue increased 20 percent during the last six months, Garza says. The business has 25,000 users, which includes everyone from individuals to teams of people at large enterprises.

And Earth Class Mail is planning to expand, though Garza is for now keeping the exact details of her plans quiet. “I will tell you that we are very focused on looking at all types of documents, and I think it’s important to know that Earth Class Mail is not just about mail. I’m confidently looking at ways to do more with less paper,” she says.

The premise of Earth Class Mail’s business is straightforward: Most people think mail is a pain—in particular businesses, where it has a potential severe impact if an important document is lost in the shuffle of piles of paper. Earth Class Mail digitizes it, scanning both the exterior and the contents of the mail—if customers ask the company to do so. Earth Class Mail provides customers with a user interface that lets them navigate, categorize, and archive their mail content.

“We’re doing for postal mail what Gmail did for e-mail,” Garza says.

The company was founded in 2004 as Remote Control Mail, raised equity funding, changed its name, and then ran into trouble during the financial crisis, according to a blog post by Chargify, another software-as-a-service company owned by Scaleworks (Chargify counted Earth Class Mail as a customer of its billing services). After it reportedly filed for bankruptcy, Earth Class Mail was acquired in 2015 by Xenon Ventures, the post says. Xenon is an investment firm with a similar model to Scaleworks—in part because Scaleworks partner Ed Byrne worked at Xenon before starting Scaleworks with Lew Moorman.

There are a few other services that offer similar features, including the U.S. Postal Service’s new option to send you photos of your mail before it arrives. PostScan Mail and Traveling Mailbox are among them, though they are focused on consumers, not businesses, which are dealing with a more severe problem because of the amount of mail they deal with, Garza says. Earth Class Mail also has more extensive features, such as being able to directly deposit checks for customers who receive them by mail.

Docusign recently put digital documents and software-as-a-service companies in the news. The Francisco-based online document signature business (NASDAQ: DOCU) raised $629 million in an initial public offering and then acquired Chicago-based contract software maker SpringCM for $220 million in July.

Earth Class Mail handles all of the scanning and processing of the mail at a single site in Beaverton, OR, but a business’s mail is actually delivered to one of 80 sites across the U.S. The customer selects one of the 80 locations as its own address—including “vanity” addresses on streets like Madison Avenue in New York—and the customer’s mail is delivered there. Then, Earth Class Mail ships all that mail to Oregon, aiming to make it arrive within 24 to 72 hours to process it. The company uses UPS to ship, having switched from FedEx in June.

Earth Class Mail has 14 people at its headquarters in San Antonio and 50 total across the U.S. and in Poland. All the employees who handle the scanning of the mail in Oregon are trained to comply with HIPPA and GDPR standards, Garza says. It is hiring, too.

“Paper is pain,” Garza says. “We’re solely focused on removing that pain for our customers.”

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at Follow @xconholley

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