PDFs have been the bane of every Internet-goers life for far too long. Oh, you accidentally clicked into a huge PDF? Screw it, better go get coffee and come back in a few minutes. Hopefully your computer has stopped grinding away by then.
Fortunately, companies like Scribd and Crocodoc have popped up in the past few years with the valiant goal of turning PDFs and other document formats into something a whole lot less terrible. You upload your document, they chew through it, and return an embeddable HTML5 widget.
This morning, Crocodoc is making it clear that they’ve found a new focus: the enterprise. They’ve announced a new “enterprise-grade” document embedding service to let developers integrate Crocodoc into their own Web applications, disclosed four huge new enterprise customers, and have moved the spotlight away from their consumer-centric offering.
Crocodoc co-founder Ryan Damico tells me that the company now sees itself as “95 percent enterprise.” You see, it’s pretty tough to convince an occasional PDF uploader to cough up some change for a service like this — but offering up a snazzy, embeddable HTML5-based document renderer for other companies to integrate into their products? There’s a business there, and they’ve already got a few big customers to prove it.
LinkedIn is using Crocodoc to handle resume uploading and rendering in their Recruiter product. Yammer is using it to let you share and annotate documents with your co-workers. SAP is building it into Spotlight, their internal sales/marketing presentation tool. Perhaps most notably, Dropbox is using it to power all of the document rendering in their recently announced one-click linking feature. If you ever find yourself readin’ through a Dropbox’d PDF — like, say, this one — that’s Crocodoc’s tech you’re looking at.
Crocodoc says their new offering costs these companies “pennies per document”, with the price dropping based on volume.
Meanwhile, the personal document uploading service that originally sparked the concept behind Crocodoc has been toned back a bit. It’s still available for free at http://personal.crocodoc.com, but that seems to be more of a courtesy to the long-time users than anything. Crocodoc is all about enterprise integration now. While the aforementioned competing service Scribd hones in on user document uploads and social sharing with an enterprise offering said to be “coming soon,” Crocodoc has headed in the entirely opposite direction.
Crocodoc began its life as a Y-Combinator backed company (it actually pivoted into a document sharing service right in the middle of the program), and has since received an unspecified amount of funding from Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, Delicious founder Joshua Schachter, 500′s Dave McClure, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, and SV Angel. According to the company’s co-founders, Crocodoc is now completely profitable.