Auckland startup disrupts cloud-based document editing market

You may not have heard of Auckland-based startup Notable PDF, but it’s changing the way that the world deals with documents. Its not overly fancy or feature-rich, but that’s what makes the application so attractive. It’s built to be a vital part of your digital toolbox.

The cloud-based editing app is a multi-facet PDF viewer and annotation tool set to revolutionise the formatting and exporting technology currently available to journalists, schooling systems and small businesses alike.

Notable PDF features an abundance of standard editing tools used daily by writers, which significantly decreases the time spent on back-to-back email threads and written notes.

“There is simply the need in the market for this app. Notable PDF transforms traditional PDFs into interactive documents to make any writer’s life less complicated”, says co-founder, Alliv Samson.

The tool makes interaction easier, faster and less complex, directly sharing annotations and key feedback on the PDF document. With text highlighting, addition and copy/paste functions, visual cues are easily recognised and added, meaning less time for editing and more for productive writing.

The edited documents can then be shared via Notable PDF’s links to Google Drive, Dropbox or Box, and while the app works perfectly with any computer, its PDF viewer is enabled with deep Chrome OS integration to keep things running smoothly. 

The young entrepreneurs behind Notable PDF, Hengji Wang, Jordan Thoms, and Alliv Samson, set out to create a startup after they finished attending university. They found that the skills they shared between them were suited for a tech startup, so they began searching for a problem that they could fix.

Alliv Samson said, “We have two problems that Notable PDF has helped us solve; firstly, the lack of good cloud-based PDF viewers and annotation tools for browsers, and secondly, the app shortage for Chromebooks users.

“Many US schools have introduced Chromebooks to their curriculum, while often teaching with PDF documents. Notable PDF allows the students and teachers to make time-saving changes to work produced.”

The app was originally released in June 2014 and has quickly grown in popularity with over 20,000 users purchasing subscriptions to the product in the first 2 months. The user base is expected to double this month, with most of the users coming from the profitable US market.

As with any startup, Notable PDF has encountered it’s fair share of challenges too; the biggest so far being the decision to scrap the first product and focus on Notable PDF. The time difference has also presented new difficulties for the team, as they constantly have to operate in two different time zones.

“Almost 99 percent of our users are overseas, mostly from the United States, so our work schedule is pretty jumbled up,” says Alliv. “And not to mention, the fact that we are a tech startup. It is not a walk in the park. We spend almost 24 hours seven days a week in the office!”

“With startup life, it is all about finding priorities. At the moment our biggest asset is our time, so we need to make sure we spend it wisely and that we do everything efficiently.”

Notable PDF’s users aren’t the only ones who see potential in the product. New Zealand investment companies Flying Kiwis and Hopscale have a set of un-named angel investors supporting the growth of this practical and revolutionary tool.

Once the US market is firmly in their grasp, Notable PDF plans to shift their marketing efforts to their own back yard, New Zealand.

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