E-Stamp Corp. in Palo Alto, CA said it has been granted approval by the U.S. Postal Service to test its online
postage solution–the first new indicia approved by the Postal Service in 78 years.
This makes E-Stamp the fifth company in history to be granted a license to
resell postage. The last such license was granted to Pitney Bowes in 1920.
Other companies are working on similar products, postal officials said.
“Indicia” is postal-speak for an indication on an envelope that postage has
E-Stamp said its Internet Postage will change the way small businesses and
home offices process mail by allowing them to securely purchase, download,
store, and print postage using a PC.
Beta testing will begin immediately in the metropolitan Washington, DC area,
followed shortly by testing in the San Francisco Bay and Tampa, FL areas, the company said.
In 1996, E-Stamp secured the patent on printing postage from a non-dedicated
device, and for the past four years E-Stamp has worked with the Postal Service to develop a standard Information-based Indicia to replace the emblem generated by all mechanical-based meters.
E-Stamp was started by entrepreneur Salim Kara. His secretary was in
a car accident on the way to the post office to refill postage and sued him
for damages. The story goes that Kara felt there must be a better way to purchase and use postage, and so he developed the digital postage concept.