It’s hard to develop a personal note-taking habit. Many folks just resort to using a default app like Apple’s Notes app or sending something to themselves on Slack. It’s fine if you just need to jot down a note or two, but it becomes hard to organize and search for them later. Stashpad is working on a solution for that issue — especially for developers and product managers.
Stashpad is an app that runs on all desktop platforms (Intel and M1 Mac, Windows and Linux). When you first launch the application, it has a minimal learning curve for getting started — you can just start typing in notes. You can put these notes under one Stack for a project — think of this as creating a folder. There is also an option of creating a sub-stack (no, not that one) under a folder.
All stacks open up as tabs on top of the app, and there is an option of pinning tabs for easy access. The app also has a “Sticky” mode, which makes it easier to take notes during a video call.
While the basic structure is simple, the app gives users a plethora of formatting options, including code. And if you are an advanced user, you can remember and use keyboard shortcuts accessible through a command bar for anything from navigating through the app to creating or moving notes. Plenty of modern tools like SigmaOS, the Arc browser, and Vimcal and Cron calendar apps follow the same philosophy.
Stashpad has kept the notetaking part simple even though there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to organizing and structuring notes. For instance, users can easily build a to-do list but won’t get features like reminders for that. So they will need to integrate Stashpad into their daily workflow to make the most out of it.
Why the founders made another note-taking app?
The company’s co-founders Cara Borenstein and Theo Marin previously worked at Twilio and Nextdoor, respectively. The founders, who met at Columbia University while studying computer science, said that while working at their job they realized that a lot of developers rely on personal notepads for listing tasks and getting the work done. So they decided to build Stashpad.
“At our jobs, we noticed that there were some knowledge-sharing challenges within teams and set out to build a better wiki. We came to realize that challenges with the wiki are more of a people challenge than a tech challenge when it comes to creating the right incentives to keep the wiki up-to-date. We realized that the personal notepad, much more than the wiki, is key to how devs like us get stuff done,” they told TechCrunch over an email.
While the company counts tools like Notion, Evernote and Obsidian as competitors, it says these apps are focused more on knowledge management while Stashpad is concentrating on note-taking for working memory.
“In some senses, we’re complementary to these tools. However, it’s common to use these tools for both working memory and long-term knowledge management. We believe that the working memory use case deserves its own, purpose-built tool. By designing for this use-case, we’re better able to prioritize frictionless capture while helping you keep different chains of thought compartmentalized,” they said.
Stashpad is free for personal usage, but if you want to use it across devices along with the mobile app you have to pay $8 per month. The company is also working on providing a commercial license for teams at $50 per year. The startup first launched its desktop app in August, and to date, it has users from companies like AWS, Coinbase, Atlassian and Spotify.
Stashpad is launching its iOS app today to go with the desktop client. The app lets you sync 50 notes on the free tier and unlimited notes on the paid tier. The company has designed the mobile app in such a way that it helps people take quick notes by placing the cursor in the writing box directly. The founder said that they wanted to keep the interface in line with the desktop design and give people the experience of “DMing themselves.”
The road ahead
The company raised $1.8 million last year from Alex Solomon (CTO at PagerDuty), Will Larson (CTO at Calm), operators at Postman, Loom and Webflow, and the co-founders’ former colleagues at Twilio and Nextdoor. As the company participated in Techstars in 2021, its total raise to date is $2 million.
Stashpad is planning to work on making notes collaborative so users can share some of their notes for a group brainstorming session. However, the founders said at the core, they still want the app to be a personal notetaker. The startup plans to release an Android app this quarter along with support for images in notes. In the future, the company also plans to release an API to make the experience more customizable for developers.