With $15M From Benchmark, Former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor’s Quip Aims to Take Productivity Mobile

Former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor is now on a mission to “build the productivity suite for the mobile era.”
His first app launched tonight: Quip for iOS (plus a preview version for Android), which is a collaborative document editor.
quip-press-release“The transition from PC to phones and tablets is so significant that all the software is going to change dramatically,” Taylor posited in a phone interview.
“There’s been so much effort around social and messaging [on mobile]. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but those are time-wasting applications.”
Previous attempts to improve productivity software have wilted in Microsoft’s shadow — and to a somewhat lesser extent are now dwarfed by Google Docs — but Taylor thinks mobile might be the opening.
“There could be an opportunity for company of our size to compete in this space for the first time in 30 years,” he said.
Taylor, who helped start Google Maps and saw his FriendFeed social aggregation app acquired by Facebook, left Facebook last summer. He started Quip with his former Google coworker Kevin Gibbs, who was instrumental in creating Google App Engine and Google Suggest.
The company has raised $15 million from Benchmark Capital, led by Peter Fenton, along with Greylock Capital, Marc Benioff, Yuri Milner and Ron Conway. It has 12 employees and is based in San Francisco.
Quip’s features include online and offline editing, automatic formatting to the size of the screen, and push notifications that alert someone who created a document and shared it when the recipient first opens it, so they can jump in and walk them through right then. “That previously would have been a high latency email thread, followed by a meeting,” Taylor said. (The implication: uggh.)
Bret Taylor
Bret Taylor
Quip is built to be “free form,” Taylor said. It doesn’t have all the features a traditional word processor would. It does have some novel additions, like a checklist that could be used for a shared shopping list or product management. And when people make changes to a document, they’re noted as part of a chat conversation with everyone involved.
“It’s almost like a shared white board and not just a piece of paper anymore,” Taylor said.
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