Smallpdf: Big things come in small packages thanks to this startup with 10M monthly users

By Sam Brake Guia July 27, 2017

Smallpdf is an online service which allows users to drag a file into their compression tool, reducing a large PDF into a smaller size without noticeable quality loss, convert it to other formats, or separate PDF pages, making it the leading web-based PDF software.  

Why we like it:

If you have ever tried to send a large PDF file via email, you may have realised that email operators have very strict file size limits. Smallpdf offers a very simple solution to this, enabling you to shrink files down into a more efficient size. Making it the perfect tool for web uploads, email campaigns and so on. Additionally, the cloud service guarantees 100% privacy with a secure encryption on both the website and file transfers, and all files are automatically erased from their servers after one hour. Despite having added an increasing number of features, it remains accessible to all. The free model offers all of Smallpdf’s core features, restricted to two documents an hour and up to 5GB in file size. The limitless premium model starts at just $4 a month.

Smallpdf has now grown to become a full service PDF software whilst remaining user-experience centered and aesthetically pleasing. Instead of cluttering up your hard drive with unnecessary files, for example, you can use Smallpdf to compress or convert files directly from your Dropbox or Google Drive. The service operates on 100+ servers processing up to one million documents per day, allowing you to get your job done quickly and easily.

Founder’s story:

Smallpdf was created by three friends with three key principles in mind – reliability, security and simplicity – and to be a more user-friendly alternative to existing PDF software which is often overly-complex for the average individual. With zero investment the Swiss based company now has millions of users from every country on the planet.

Manuel Stofer, Co-Founder at Smallpdf

“The Smallpdf team is delighted to see how many people are using our service”, said Manuel Stofer, Smallpdf Co-founder. “We love to see so many users supporting us every day by promoting our tools and we are grateful to all for their continued support. This support has allowed us to grow from a three-man donation-led team just four years ago to the leading PDF software on the market today”.

Market opportunity:

Whilst Adobe is the leading PDF software, it is very feature heavy and is not particularly user-friendly. Many competitors also require desktop software, whereas Smallpdf operates with a simple drag-and-drop function online. The fact that Smallpdf has now achieved ten million monthly users and has been translated into twenty languages highlights it’s popularity and continued success. This can be largely contributed to the platform’s consistent ability to compress and convert files with greater ease and efficiency than other online cloud-based competitors. It aims to remain the most popular alternative by continuing to improve its service and add features.

“Traditional PDF software way over-complicates the user experience so we wanted keep it simple for the 95% of the users who want to use core PDF editing features with efficiency and simplicity”, added Stofer.