Electronically sold postage is scheduled to become available nationally this month, and it seems so simple: Go to a Web site, fork over a credit card, and print out all the E-postage you need. New services such as E-stamp and Stamps.com can save hours of frustrating waiting on line (the physical kind). But they're not as easy as a single mouse click: First, you'll have to download special Zip-Code software that creates your letter's electronic bar code. What's more, envelopes have to be addressed and stamped simultaneously, which means you can't easily use E-postage on preprinted mail, such as utility bills. Our advice: Don't throw out that postage meter just yet. For more, see page 16.
The Venture Boom
Pennies keep falling from heaven. Lots of them, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' MoneyTree, a quarterly survey of venture-capital firms. In the first six months of 1999, VCs invested nearly $12 billion in 1,714 young companies, which nearly matches the $14.3 billion they ponied up during all of 1998. The biggest winners? Technology companies, naturally, which garnered 90% of all VC dollars.
Why Buy Their Home PCs?
It sounds crazy for employers to pay for telecommuters' computers if workers already have Net hookups at home. But at today's low prices, reports frontier's Jeremy Quittner, there's good reason to insist on it. First, you'll have the legal right to mandate what employees do with the equipment, which should discourage moonlighting and potentially dangerous meddling and hacking from their kids. And standardizing your telecommuting gear should cut downtime and repair costs, too.