30 Fastest Growing Companies to Watch 2020
As technology has exploded, you can be certain that behind every successful company there is most likely an even more successful digital partner. In the print and mail world, that side-kick is LetterStream. For 17 years, LetterStream has been helping companies, as well as individuals and non-profits, tackle their printing and mailing challenges by offering powerful online solutions, extremely fast processing, and high quality services -- all wrapped with a phenomenal customer experience. LetterStream specializes in “critical mail” – mail that is data driven, error free, and/or requires an urgency beyond typical mailing needs. The company creates every imaginable mail piece: first-class letters, certified mail, overnight letters, postcards, statements, invoices, bills, and collection letters. Complete with APIs and branded website options, LetterStream empowers others to do more with less.
Established in 2003, LetterStream is a premium printing and mailing company, uniquely focused on making mail easy. LetterStream was one of the first to deliver fully automated online Certified Mail solutions, API integrations, and a robust website for effortlessly creating all types of mail. The Arizona-based company has a wide range of clients that include healthcare users with stringent HIPAA requirements, third-party administrators, homeowner associations, foodservice providers, municipalities, and a host of other large and small businesses.
David Patterson, the President and CEO of Letterstream, has played an important role in setting the direction for this Fastest Growing Company since its inception. We interviewed him recently to get insights into the innovations delivered by LetterStream in 2020. Read on for excerpts from the interview.
With your personal technology background, how did you get started in the printing and mailing space?
Interestingly, I didn’t set out to create a printing and mailing company, but a friend of mine encouraged me to start LetterStream with him. He’s a serial entrepreneur and I agreed to jump in. I’m more an operations guy, who seeks to perfect every process and find efficiencies in every corner. This allowed us to play off one another’s strengths until things started really growing fast. After about 18 months of good growth I bought out my partner and LetterStream has been printing and mailing and innovating in the industry ever since.
How are you able to see tremendous growth year over year?
I’m not sure I can point to a single task or strategy that contributes to our growth, but we do have a multi-disciplinary recipe that we like to follow. We start with making perfect mail. Well, we aren’t perfect 100% of the time, but we are running about as close to perfection as possible, hitting about 99.999%. This metric is tracked and reported on regularly and whenever we have an issue we jump in and work to solve it and improve processes before another issue can be experienced.
The second thing we do is focus on speed. Like quality, we measure our speed every day and we know exactly how fast we are. In fact, on a daily basis we average over 60% of all jobs being mailed the same day and 99.994% of all jobs mail by the next business day.
Our western location really helps in this area -- as customers on the East coast are settling in for the evening, we still have time to get mail submitted to FedEx and the Postal Service before close of business. We find that our speed focus allows us to earn business from companies that believe mailing in-house is the only way to be fast. We show them what fast really means.
Finally, we take care of customers. We attempt to go above and beyond on every request, question or difficulty our customers experience to give them an almost unheard of level of customer support. We understand that our loyal customers are our biggest cheerleaders and help drive future success.
Ultimately, we believe that providing fast and perfect mail, backed by outstanding service, allows our customers to focus on growing their business. And when they can focus on their own core competencies, their business grows. It’s weird, or obvious, but this circles back around to us and we are the beneficiary of their growth. So, if all our customers are helping our business grow, we don’t have to increase sales by much to have stellar year-over-year increases.
What ways are you innovating, or can you, in such an old industry like mail?
That’s a great question. You’d think that everything that can be invented for sending mail has already been invented. However, we’ve still been able to eek out some cool tech and provide automated solutions for this industry that’s been around since before the Pony Express.
I’ll share just a few here so I don’t start getting too geeky with our fun solutions. Two of our solutions have been around since nearly the day we started, neither of which were widely available before we rolled them out. The first was the ability to create and mail a single letter or a massive mailing, online, without sending a single email or making a phone call to provide additional clarification. Our website was developed for the large corporation, as well as the individual sitting at home, to send a single letter or a complex mailing with ease. The second solution was our Certified Mail solution that allows a customer to send upwards of 100,000 certified mail letters in a single mailing and be able to see the status of the entire batch as well as any individual letter. We also provide every tracking scan that the USPS captures, and we provide the signature of the person who signed for the letter, all neatly organized on our website. This was a big game changer for people and businesses sending Certified Mail.
One other piece of tech I’ll share is our API. We provide simple-to-implement protocols for software providers and industries to put a button in their software to generate physical mail directly from their application. This makes the task of sending mail as easy as a click of the mouse for users. Our API is used by a wide variety of industries and is embedded in a number of different software packages. It might be that some of your readers are already using LetterStream to send their critical mail but don’t even know that we produce every letter generated by that single click.
Shifting gears a little, what developments or disruptions has LetterStream experienced during COVID-19?
Initially, we spent a good deal of time focusing on the health and safety of our employees. Our team jumped in and did some extraordinary things to make our company structure even more powerful. Together we revamped some internal practices in order to accomplish the same outputs while providing more distancing to production staff members. While many companies were backing away from commitments to customers and service levels, our employees were committed to offering the same amazing level of service, while also looking out for the safety and health of each other.
In terms of sales, our revenues dipped a bit during the first 45 days or so of the onset of Covid-19, but we discovered that our service was vital for many companies coping with the complexities of sending mail during such challenging times. Because our mailing process is 100% online, we eliminate every single step of a mailing project that requires someone to leave their home. Obviously, this is greatly appreciated when trying to maintain social distancing or better yet, when you aren’t allowed to go to your office and use the equipment. Because of the ease of our service, we saw a 200% increase in new customer signups in April of 2020 alone. It turns out that our unique solutions are exactly what mailers need in a pandemic.
Meet the Leader
David Patterson, President and CEO
Since graduating from the University of Missouri in the late 1980s, he has been innovating and operating in shipping, fulfillment and production companies. Performing roles in IT, operations and upper management, he has garnered experience to keep up with the demands of a rapidly growing business in the technology sector. Prior to starting LetterStream, he worked as COO of a national online postcard company and was an executive officer at a few mail-order and fulfillment companies.
“For more than 15 years, LetterStream has been helping companies, individuals, and non-profit organizations tackle their printing and mailing challenges by offering them a stellar suite of services.”