Chicago-based startup firm PrintwithMe has raised $800,000 in investment funds to bring personal printing to public places such as coffee shops, hotels, apartment buildings, and college campuses.
PrintWithMe is a building a network of printers and MFPs, and currently, PrintWithMe stations are installed in about 20 cities across the United States, in over 120 locations, reaching some 20,000 customers.
How does it work? Users email their print job to the printer’s email address, and then pay via the PrintWithMe site. PrintWithMe costs 19 cents per page for black-and-white prints and 39 cents per page for color prints. Co-working sites can make the service available to their members for $29 per month. Users can select color, two-sided duplex printing, page ranges, and page orientation and fitting at most locations. Print jobs are encrypted in the cloud for security before being sent for printing, and are then deleted.
“PrintWithMe is a more convenient and cost-effective option than printer ownership for most consumers and remote workers,” Jonathan Treble, founder of PrintWithMe, said in a statement. “We see a big opportunity to leverage technology to turn printers into a shareable asset and bring print/scan/copy/fax capabilities to where people live and work.”
The advantages for users is that those without printers can now conveniently print, while PrintWithMe states there are several advantages for public enterprises:
- According to a study conducted by Samsung Electronics, printing is the second-most desired amenity among regular coffee shop-goers, right behind Wi-Fi connectivity. Most print visits are transactional and fast, meaning it doesn’t add to the “lingering” behavior that some Wi-Fi users demonstrate.
- Customers hardly ever visit a coffee shop without purchasing coffee, and on average, users report purchasing another beverage or food-item 80 percent of the time they visit a coffee shop primarily to print.
- PrintWithMe printers are said to be “hassle-free, reliable, and extremely easy-to-use.” Therefore, PrintWithMe says it’s “extremely rare” that a user engages with staff when conducting their printing.
- By offering PrintWithMe, PrintWithMe says that an existing customer base will have yet another reason to visit shops with PrintWithMe.
- Hosting a PrintWithMe station in a coffee shop not only drives recurring traffic from existing customers, and it also attract new ones. PrintWithMe promotes its printing kiosks through a mix of online advertising, public relations, and referral incentives.
For-pay personal public printing isn’t a new concept, as, for instance, it’s been available in many hotels, and Canon and HP printers are available for print-for-pay in many FedEx stores. But as more users – particularly millenials – forego purchasing a printer, print-for-pay for light print volumes at places such as coffee shops should appeal to many. But at 19 cents per page, those with higher print volumes would be well advised to purchase home or small-business printers, as most today offer much lower-priced cost per page.
For more information on PrintWithMe, visit the firm here.