Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

HTML5 Start-Up Crocodoc Signs Up Dropbox, LinkedIn and SAP as Paying Customers

Crocodoc, a start-up that quickly converts PDFs and Office documents to HTML5, already has an impressive list of customers: Dropbox, LinkedIn, SAP, Yammer and Edomodo.

The Crocodoc founding team breaks for a glamour shot.

Document viewing in HTML5 might not sound like a big deal, but being able to search and highlight and copy text can be pretty clutch.

What Crocodoc doesn’t do is allow users to edit documents — something co-founder Ryan Damico called “the holy grail.” ’Cause if there’s one thing we cloud-lovers hate, it’s firing up desktop software to mess with a file.

One other Web service that does good HTML5 doc conversion is Scribd, but Crocodoc improves on Scribd’s basic hosting by offering its enterprise customers hooks to integrate documents within their own products. Crocodoc is also quite speedy, with an average PDF-to-HTML time of three seconds, according to Damico.

Here’s a comparison Damico sent me that nicely demonstrates what Crocodoc can do:

Damico said each of Crocodoc’s customers are paying “pennies per document, with discounts.” So far, the customers are all swallowing the cost and providing document viewing as a free addition to their existing products.

Crocodoc has a small team of four founders, who have worked together on similar tools for the past seven years, since meeting at MIT. They’ve tried a whole bunch of different businesses for their technology — first a Web-clipping tool similar to Evernote (that was called WebNotes, and is still running “on autopilot”); then a consumer product for marking up documents (that will continue to exist as Crocodoc Personal); and now, an enterprise product. After raising $1 million in funding, the company is now profitable, Damico said.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work