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Posted: August 01, 2014

Tech startup: PrintReleaf

Eric Peterson

INITIAL LIGHTBULB: After 11 years with Louisville-based LaserCycle, Jordan Darragh pivoted to clean-tech before debuting his innovative printing business. At energy intelligence provider EnerNOC, Darragh became familiar with carbon offsets and sought to apply the principles to corporate printing with PrintReleaf, planting a new tree for each one that was logged for paper.

“There’s been 5 billion acres deforested over the last century – 100 billion trees,” said Darragh. “There’s obviously a need … as we evaluate the global forestry system.”

In a Nutshell: After three years of R&D, Darragh officially got started this March.

“We had to figure out how we were going to reforest on a cost-per-page basis,” said Darragh. Working with SGS International, PrintReleaf developed “an entire standard on what it means to be a PrintReleaf reforesting partner,” and then developed the software, he explained.

PRX, PrintReleaf’s proprietary platform “is the first of its kind,” tracking companies’ paper use and translating that into tree planting, said Darragh,

The wholesale cost per page is about $0.0107, just above the industry standard of $0.01 – a price tag customers seem more than willing to bear.

“That’s an idea we support,” says Daniel Halter, IT manager at Boulder’s St Julien Hotel & Spa. Halter says the hotel prints about 25,000 sheets a month, the equivalent of three trees from PrintReleaf partners.

PrintReleaf’s planting partners work primarily in Asia and South America, “where the planet needs it most,” Darragh said.

The Market:

PrintReleaf markets its services through a network of reseller partners that target a global market of 10,000 print-services dealers. The company attracted 20 customers in the first month after the launch, including its first Fortune 500 account, Western Union.

Financing:

PrintReleaf is not actively pursuing outside capital. The company is angel-funded and Darragh expects financing will cover costs until it is cash-flow positive, at which point a decision will be made about pursuing growth capital.

where Denver    |    FOUNDED 2011    |   web printreleaf.com

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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Readers Respond

@Mike - thanks for your comments. I clicked on your link, but there was no text in the article; maybe it's for subscribers only. As for PrintReleaf, I obviously disagree. Planting trees does A LOT in the 'real world'...especially given where we're planting them. Through tree planting, we provide jobs, restore water tables, rebuild local economies, all while certifiably reforesting paper. About only 1 out of every 10 sheets of paper is certified for reforestation. We, along with our partners and customers, are changing that and making an impact. You are correct when you cite that forests are cut down every day and others are planted. Unfortunately, net-net, on global scale (not 'National'), we've cut down far more than we've put back...and that's where our value proposition takes hold. Feel free to contact me at jdarragh@printreleaf.com. By Jordan Darragh on 2014 07 31
I have come to see that the offset business model is just marketing. If you want to help someone, donate your products and services. Planting a tree doesn't do much in the real world, when the National Forest Service is busy spending tax dollars to clear-cut 1000s of acres. Really. http://www.summitdaily.com/news/12164808-113/clear-county-summit-everyone By Mike on 2014 07 27
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