Qwilr, which turns boring business documents into attractive websites, raises $1.5M

Qwilr, an Australian startup that helps companies turn boring PDFs and other static sales documents into attractive websites, has grabbed $1.5 million to develop its product and expand its global reach.

Sydney-based Qwilr raised $500,000 from Sydney Seed Fund and Macdoch Ventures in 2015, but its new financing is provided by Germany’s Point Nine, a VC firm that specializes in Saas businesses. The deal represents Point Nine’s first investment in Australia — the firm’s portfolio includes Zendesk (2014 IPO) and Barcelona’s Typeform, which has raised over $20 million.

Qwilr co-founder Mark Tanner said in a statement that the startup would use this funding to bolster its product team with new hires, and also increase its numbers in engineering and marketing. The company has made hires in the U.S., its largest market for customers, with a view to opening a business development office in North America. That’s usually a key move for Australian tech startups wanting to widen their sales.

Beyond prettifying documents and making them easily readable on mobile or desktop, Qwilr also provides analytics to help customers learn more about who is reading their documents, and how they interact with them. The firm offers a limited free usage tier, but more sophisticated paid customer plans start from $39 per month.

The company said its service has been used by more than 40,000 business from 80 countries, home hunting portal Zillow and real estate firm Colliers are two public customers. Qwilr, which integrates with third-party services like Slack and Zapier, claims it has helped bring in over $250 million in quotes for those customers.

Point Nine co-founder and managing partner Christoph Janz told TechCrunch that, while his firm is location-agnostic for deals, he’s impressed with Australia’s potential for startups.

“It’s not a bad location to start, there are great engineers and talent, while the prices and competition for talent and expense level is not as crazy as, for example, San Francisco’s Bay Area,” he said.

Janz said Point Nine isn’t specifically making Australia a focus, but he expects that deal opportunities will appear on its radar now that it has a local portfolio company and connections.

“We are just open to doing Saas deals anywhere in the world where we find the best startups,” he added.