Scott Amyx Evaluates Startup on Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Tribune

PrintWithMe Counts on Demand for Print Jobs From Coffee Lovers

Chicago-based startup aims to let you print and retrieve documents when and where you pick up your latte.

PrintWithMe says it’s putting its printers in coffee shops, coworking spaces and other places where customers might express demand for a printer.

The company says users access its printing devices through cloud-based technology that encrypts and later deletes the documents.

Users send a document as an attachment to a printer’s email address, then pay online via a link that the printer generates, the company says. Payment triggers the print job.

Treble said the company has established about 30 printing stations across Chicago, including at the Bru Chicago coffee shop, at the Chicago Innovation Exchange and at Space by Doejo, a coworking space where Treble says he works on the company with four contract workers.

Three of The Bean coffee shops in New York also offer the printers, Treble said.

Printing costs vary, with the first page typically 99 cents and each additional page 19 cents, Treble said.

“The question becomes ‘Where can I print that’s convenient to me and cost effective?’” he said. “For most people, the local coffee shop is the most convenient spot to go.”

The company charges coworking spaces $19 a month to have the machines, which Treble said offer such businesses a “free amenity” for customers.

Treble, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, said he came up with the idea about a year and a half ago when he needed to print out concert tickets he’d purchased online and couldn’t access a printer in his neighborhood.

After that, he hired software engineers to build the system and then convinced coffee shops such as Bru Chicago to allow him to place the printers at their businesses.

“Very often, people come here because they know we have the service,” said Alyona Udartseva, managing partner at Bru Chicago in Wicker Park. “A couple of our regulars use it all the time.”

PrintWithMe is no threat to operations such as Kinkos and FedEx Office, said Scott Amyx, managing partner at Venture1st, a Philadelphia-based venture capital firm.

Amyx said the service might appeal to those who prefer to read hard copy but that people often digitally view and store resumes, documents, presentations and boarding passes.

“This is a very small market, not something that’s fundable,” he said.

Treble said he initially funded the venture himself before raising money from friends.

Originally published on Chicago Tribune. Published on November 9, 2015. Author Cheryl V. Jackson.