As smartphones become more central to our work lives, it gets more and more annoying when you have to move off your phone and onto your computer to accomplish some basic tasks — like, say, printing a document. That’s where a startup called BreezyPrint comes in.
BreezyPrint is a pretty young company — it just graduated from the Founder Institute, an incubator and training program for entrepreneurs, a few months ago. But it has a lot of potential, having won the institute’s Founder Showcase in October. And if founder and chief executive Jared Hansen is to be believed, things are really going to take off in 2011.
The idea is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve installed the BreezyPrint app on your phone and BreezyPrint software on your computer, you can print to any printer connected to that computer. So if you’re checking your email on your BlackBerry and you receive an important document, you just select “Print from BreezyPrint,” choose the document, and select a printer. Hansen estimated that using BreezyPrint cuts an average of seven minutes off the normal printing process.
BreezyPrint is currently available for Android, BlackBerry, and Windows phones. Hansen said there’s also an iPhone app coming. And the app also allows you to fax documents.
You can watch Hansen’s demo at the Founder Showcase below. Even though the judges like his pitch, they also sound skeptical about whether he can stay competitive if phone makers add these features to their devices, making an extra app unnecessary. Apple, for example, is working on a similar product called AirPrint.
I think the answer to that concern may come early next year, when BreezyPrint unveils its partner network. Instead of just allowing you to print to your home or office printers, BreezyPrint can work with partners such as hotels and copy shops. So if you’re away from home and you need to print, BreezyPrint can let you do that on nearby printers operated by its partners. Hansen said it’s too early to reveal who the initial partners are, but he anticipated having thousands of locations in the network at launch.
BreezyPrint is based in Oakland, Calif. and is currently raising funding. The app is free to download, then costs $5 a month or $30 a year (you can actually continue printing for free, but all your documents will have a BreezyPrint watermark).