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The Clean Tech Start-up Index – ViaPost Ltd

Today’s entry from Greenbang’s special report on UK Clean Tech Start-up businesses is about ViaPost Ltd, just one of the many companies found in the report.

  • Chief Executive: Simon Campbell
  • Founders: Ben Way, Charlie Lass
  • Founding date: January 2007
  • Number of employees: <10
  • Turnover: <£1m

If you thought the internet had sounded the death knell for snail mail, think again. In 2007, the Royal Mail handled £22bn items of post. (Remember what it felt like to receive a personal letter?) The bad news… post travelled thousands of miles and used a lot of fuel its way.

Enter Viapost, a company that has coined the concept of Post over Internet Protocol (PoIP) or put more simply, the last mile of post. Rather than printing invoices and such like in their office and sending them across the country, companies send electronic versions to Viapost, which prints them at the nearest regional centre and then delivers them.

Viapost has set up regional print centres around the UK and its secure software means people can now send physical post anywhere in the UK from their computer.

The Greenbang Barometer

When we looked at ViaPost, we pondered, why not just documents by email the whole way? Sure – in a perfect world, that would seem sensible. But some people still want to send paper, and the demand for that isn’t going away soon.If claims that Viapost delivery reduces the carbon footprint of each letter by 80 percent, this will certainly be a model for heavy users of the postal service. International expansion is on the cards too, so Viapost has a path to growth as well as a further hook for customers on the way.

Viapost can also charm with cost cuts – the real cost of sending a letter falls from £1 to just 27p plus VAT, says the company. It’s also worth noting that in the future, the company is looking to let customers use Viapost without any word processing software (the company is a partner of Microsoft) by creating the correspondence to be printed via their browser. Cunning – nice to see a company with the next generation of product already in the pipeline.

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