The Earth Class Mail offices at Scaleworks.
Earth Class Mail's offices are currently located at Scaleworks. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

San Antonio tech company Earth Class Mail is exploring downtown real estate after it relaunched in August its software product that converts physical mail to electronic form.

The 14-year-old company – located on East Houston Street along with six other software firms in the portfolio of holding company Scaleworks – is looking to stay in the downtown tech district in a larger space to make room for its expanding workforce, CEO Jess Garza said. Earth Class Mail employs 13 people in San Antonio and about 50 overall. (Its Beaverton, Oregon, location houses a processing facility where mail is scanned and digitized).

The possible move is a clear signal of intent from the software-as-a-service company that it is gearing up for growth.

“We wouldn’t just move with 13 people,” Garza said. “We’d move with the intent to scale.”

On Wednesday, the company announced it has purchased Durham, North Carolina-based Shoeboxed in a bid to expand beyond its physical-mail-to-digital-format business. Financial terms of the deal were not announced, and it was unclear whether Earth Class Mail would absorb Shoeboxed’s workforce, which is composed of more than 50 employees, according to online startup directory Crunchbase.

Shoeboxed’s software-as-a-service platform converts receipts, business cards, expense reports, mileage reports, and other physical documents to digital data. According to its website, a million businesses use the product.

“In our effort to provide greater value to businesses looking to automate and streamline mail related workflows, we spent countless hours over several months learning from you,” Garza said in a statement to Earth Class Mail’s customers Wednesday. “One thing you made very clear … it’s not just mail accumulating in your offices.”

Garza took over as Earth Class Mail’s CEO in December when there were just two employees in the San Antonio office. After pivoting from a product aimed at serving individual consumers to serving businesses, Garza has overseen “some churn” among Earth Class Mail’s clientele, but steady growth.

CEO of Earth Class Mail Jess Garza
Earth Class Mail CEO Jess Garza Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The tech company has come a long way in the past three years. Founded in 2004, Earth Class Mail filed for bankruptcy in 2015. After Scaleworks acquired the company in 2016, its business model pivoted from business-to-consumer to business-to-business.

The software platform, which costs anywhere from $69 to $179 a month, has about 25,000 users, including Lyft, Expensify, and Reddit.

Earth Class Mail automatically processes office mail, eliminating the need to physically check the mail and allowing it to be read and acted upon from anywhere in the world. Its tools allow companies to identify when they receive checks and enable their automatic deposit. The platform also integrates with billing and accounting systems so invoices can be settled while minimizing redundant paperwork.

The new version of the software expands search capabilities. Customers can create custom filters – narrowing results by month received or client name, for instance – to more easily find certain pieces of mail. Earth Class Mail also integrates with cloud-based bookkeeping applications QuickBooks and Xero.

“This is just the start of a new suite of capabilities we’ve added to solve these business problems,” said Nicole Hairston, director of product.

Garza said many of Earth Class Mail’s new features, such as tagging and categorizing of mail, came about after meeting with customers to understand their needs.

“Our customers are really leveraging the service … for its automation purposes,” she said.

Since January, the company has filled out its leadership team, and it has seen a “nice lift” in revenue. In the past six months, Garza said the company has grown about 20 percent.

Among its most common clients are high-volume direct mail services, bookkeepers and certified public accountants, property managers, law firms, and proprietors who operate their companies remotely.

Earth Class Mail could become the first in the Scaleworks portfolio to move out of the venture equity firm’s three-story space in the tech district.

“We want to do for physical mail what Gmail did for email – create a familiar, easy-to-use platform and easy way to collaborate in the modern workflow,” Garza said.

Earth Class Mail by the numbers

  • 90 tons of mail processed in 2017
  • 50 tons of mail processed to date in 2018
  • 1.4 million pieces of mail handled in 2017
  • 25,000 users
  • 200,000 customers actions such as shredding, scanning, archiving, and requesting check deposits taken each month
JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.