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March 3, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

By Nick Patience

E-Stamp Corp, one of just two companies that has been granted permission by the US Postal Service to offer postage via the internet has signed three exclusive distribution and co-marketing deals for its software and expanded appointed a new CEO in preparation for its national roll-out. The previous E-Stamp president Sunir Kapoor, who took over from the founder Salim Kara in 1996 has left the company to pursue other interests. E-Stamp is currently in phase two of its beta testing, with about 500 small business across the US testing the system. The next phase will expand that to a few thousand and the national roll-out should come later in the summer. E-Stamp needs USPS approval to move from each stage to the next. The new deals are with label company Avery Dennison Corp, Tenison Envelope Corp and Sunbeam Corp, manufacturers of Pelouze scales. The new president and CEO of the company is Robert ‘Bo’ Ewald, the former chief operating officer of Cray Research Inc, which was acquired by Silicon Graphics Inc where he became executive VP and COO before leaving in July last year. Since then he has been pursuing a life of leisure and participating on President Clinton’s information technology advisory committee, the report from which was published last week. There are two companies with USPS authorization to pursue beta tests of their online postage systems: E-Stamp and Inc, which used to be known as Stampmaster Inc. E-Stamp comprises downloadable software and monetary value, whereas is a pure web play, with the account details and value stored at the server. E-Stamp’s service requires a separate physical monetary storage peripheral, as USPS regulations do not permit the storage of monetary value on PC hard disks. Ewald says he was approached by E-Stamp last year to be on the board, looked into the company more closely and liked what he saw. He says the move makes sense as the company is now ready to make the transition out of its early stage into the operational stage. In addition he has a lot of experience of dealing with the government, which will come in useful when dealing with the quasi-autonomous USPS. Last week the company ran its first banner ad on America Online, with which it signed a deal earlier this quarter to be one of the tenants in its new online postage center and we were swamped by the response, says Ewald. Avery has been working with both E-Stamp and to produce special labels to accommodate online postage, which looks similar to a bar code. The Avery deal means E-Stamp will be the only software distributed with Avery labels – the industry’s dominant label maker – through the retail channel. Similarly, it will be the exclusive internet postage software with the Pelouze scales and the Tenison envelopes that are sold through retail. In addition, the company has announced the ability for users of Microsoft Word to print the electronic stamps in a patented window on the envelope that the company claims saves a few steps in the mail preparation process. The product was already tightly integrated with Word.

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