Sydney based startup Qwilr, founded by Mark Tanner and Dylan Baskind, announced last week that it has raised $500,000 in a seed round led by Sydney Seed Fund and Macdoch Ventures. There were a number of private angel investors that went in on the deal as well bringing the total amount of seed funds raised by the company to $600,000 after a $100,000 raise last year.
Qwilr is a platform that hopes to transform the way people interact with documents. It does this by completely reimagining what documents are, relative to the time we now live in – a digital world. Qwilr makes it easy for users to turn documents that would otherwise look static into web pages that are data rich and interactive. As the Qwilr team describes it, the platform could look something like what you would get if website building application Squarespace and media platform Medium might look like if they had a baby.
“The reason Qwilr exists, is because we want to make it as easy as possible to create web-pages as you would to make a document” said Tanner. “The basic idea behind it is that the web allows you to do so much cool stuff that traditional documents don’t let you do. Documents are fundamentally unintelligent, they don’t have any ability to run software or do anything interesting. The web is the total opposite of that”.
It’s this line of thinking that makes Qwilr a truly innovative idea. For those familiar with creating proposals, presentations and documents, it is often hard to convey a message in its entirety without having to use multiple platforms. For instance, if you were wanting to send a client a sales proposal that had multiple tiers of pricing and wanted that client to be able to interact with the document to see what they get for each different level in a fun creative way, Qwilr would not only allow you to do that, but you could even add a video or integrate ROI statistics to display alongside the information to match the client’s interactions with the document.
Essentially, Qwilr allows businesses to do “cool stuff” with their documents and present them as self-hosted websites. In my opinion it sits at a cross section between three applications -Google Docs, Canva and Squarespace – and is a perfect tool allowing the creation of customisable, sharable, design centric and trackable documentation.
The company has been embraced by the tech and startup space with thousands of users both in Australia and overseas like in the United States and Europe. Tanner told Startup Daily that there has been significant uptake in Asia as well, which has created some unexpected challenges and opportunities in terms of language capability within the platform.
Perhaps the biggest challenge that Qwilr will face as it begins to scale is convincing larger companies and medium sized businesses that switching from their current systems to a new web-based solution will be worth it.
“The entire focus for this round is around how does Qwilr communicate what we are doing with companies outside of the tech and startup space,” says Tanner. “Currently we have many startups, freelancers and small to medium digital agencies as well as creative professionals as early adopters, and with this current round investing in the technology will only make the platform more powerful.”
This kind of investment will be needed so that companies will come on board and integrate Qwilr as part of their normal document creation processes for things like proposals and presentations. Although the platform currently has a brilliant UI / UX and is intuitive to use, it is not necessarily intuitive for teams. This, according Tanner, is what the company is currently concentrating on creating: a platform that is as intuitive for small and large teams as it is for individuals.
Although you get such things as your own sub domain as a company, what we can expect to see from Qwilr over the coming months is a solution that gives companies even greater brand control in much the same way platforms like Google for work does.
“Some supposed innovation out there is not much more than a shareable A4 document,” says Tanner. “The future of content is in web pages. Not as things we print out and put in landfill, but as beautiful pages we view on smartphones, tablets and desktops.”