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February 18, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer Inc, one of only two companies so far to get approval from the US Postal Service (USPS) to offer postage over the internet, has closed $30m in second-round funding and added some heavy hitters to its board. The new money comes from a group led by existing investors Vulcan Ventures and Chase Capital Partners., formerly known as Stampmaster Inc, differs from the other company that has secured USPS approval, E-Stamp, in that its service is server-based software and the postage value is downloaded from the internet and printed. E-Stamp, on the other hand, uses a PC-add-on device that stores the monetary value the user downloads from the web. The USPS’ Information Based Indicia (IBI) program will enable users to print out postage on regular printers in the form of a barcode-like image. It can also be integrated inside applications such as Word and printed from there. Both companies are still in their testing phase and need the USPS to roll out their services across the US, but are both expected to do so in the first half of this year. And the pair have also signed marketing agreements with America Online Inc, which is creating a postage area on its service (12/18/98). The leader in postage metering industry – which this is designed to eventually replace – Pitney Bowes, received USPS approval for its ClickStamp PC postage software in November and is yet to embark on its testing phase. The new board members at are former US postmaster general Marvin Runyon; Loren Smith, former chief marketing officer of the USPS; and David Bohnett, founder and chairman of GeoCities Inc. As well as being postmaster general from 1992 to 1998, Runyon was the founding president and CEO of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp in the US from 1980 to 1988.

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