Nebraska’s home-grown startup INK, which is attempting to make the printing process smoother in colleges, announces that it has raised $7 million.
College students have long had problems with the existing printing process in colleges. The process takes too long and for a lack of a better term it is simply impractical. Students are unable to print directly from their laptop which means that they are usually forced to transfer their documents to an on-campus computer through a flash drive or by emailing the documents to themselves before they can access them and print them out.
There is also the issue that lots of students are trying to print at the same time from the limited computers and printers that college computer labs have available. This means that students waste a lot of time waiting in line just to get something printed.
INK has found that despite technological advances which now allow students to basically read anything they would like on a smart device, reading printed material is still by far the preferred option. It stated on its homepage that “students come to college with an average of seven smart devices. And while they’re constantly connected, over 92 percent of millennials prefer print materials to using e-readers.”
The startup has developed a solution that allows students to print anything they want with the touch of a button in a process that should take no longer than a couple of seconds.
It offers two products — The SmartStation and the InkTouch machines. With those two products computer labs are essentially no longer necessary. Students simply have to walk up to a SmartStation or InkTouch to print, share, and send files from their cloud using their mobile device or USB drive or alternatively they can send files directly from their laptop. Furthermore, users can even edit content straight from the devices.
INK is convinced that their innovative technological solution will transform student college printing experiences from negative to positive ones. They are also confident that software errors will be reduced by 90% and the length of the overall printing process will decrease from 10 minutes to 30 seconds. Whats even more impressive is that the products are eco-friendly.
The INK machines will be installed in about 30 colleges in the US by the end of the year, according to TechCrunch, including some highly reputable ones such as Stanford and UCLA. The company will provide the machines for free and instead charge $.09 per page printed. It will leave it up to the individual colleges to decide whether the students pay directly to the company for the services or whether the college will offer their own payment alternatives to their students.
The funding was raised from VTF Capital, SQN Venture Partners, Invest Nebraska and NE Angeles. The startup already managed to raise $8 million earlier this year from advisors Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Greg Silverman of Warner Brothers.