Recently, I heard about a startup called Pixily that allows individuals and businesses to mail their documents to a central location and have them scanned, indexed, and uploaded to a secure web portal. This service, if it works well, may render (most?) file cabinets obsolete since everything is safely uploaded and stored in the cloud, and is readily searchable and sharable.
Although the main use case for the system (reducing the amount of paper you’re keeping around and making your personal ‘paper’ files easier to manage) is a great one, I think there could also be some interesting monetization opportunities for the company or for individuals who store their documents on Pixily.
For example, I bet the credit card companies would love to see the (anonymized) spending habits (revealed through our credit card statements) of my cohort to help figure out what kind marketing programs would be effective within that cohort. Why wouldn’t they pay to get this information, particularly if they could get it in bulk, and if end user privacy was protected (by users opting in to show a subset of their transactions)?
Or, what about employers who negotiate bulk discounting for their employees? At my last job, we received all sorts of discounts on computers, gym memberships, etc. What if my employer could approach vendors (with credit card data I’ve permitted them to view/share) and say “2000 of our employees bought Dell computers last year. HP, what say you?” I’m willing to bet HP would come calling with a nice discount.
Credit card statements are one data source, but you might also think about the rich insights one could obtain by analyzing a large number of…
- Bank statements
- Utility bills
- Car insurance bills
- and on and on…
I really get excited about the opportunities in this space because the technologies can really help remove inefficiencies in markets and help consumers get the best deal possible.