IPads are great devices. I have two at home and they're often utilized by one of my sons playing some sort of game, or me playing Baby Einstein YouTube videos for my two-month old, or reading news. I've never once thought of downloading Word or Power Point documents, much less editing them.
Until now, that is.
CloudOn, an app that turns iPads into productivity tools, announced Thursday that it's raised $16 million in funding from Social+Capital, along with Translink Capital, and existing investors Foundation Capital and Rembrandt. The new funding brings the total financing to $26 million.
Palo Alto-based CloudOn essentially enables users to access Microsoft Office from their iPads or Android tablets. If you want to edit a Word document or Power Point, you can't easily download them onto a tablet and make changes. "There is no Microsoft Office for the iPad," said Milind Gadekar, co-founder and CEO of CloudOn, in an interview with me. But with CloudOn, a person can open up the Office tools, like Excel and Word, and edit it.
"With the prolieration of devices, [we predicted] this would become a fairly big issue within the enterprise for knowledge workers. And, that they would want to be productive on all devices," said Gadekar, explaining why he and his team decided to focus on enabling people to become more productive on devices, and not just entertained.
Indeed, increasingly, workers are choosing to leave the laptop at the office, and work off a tablet. I'm even toying with the idea of just using an iPad vs a Macbook Air as my traveling device.
"My VCs, and many people have completely stopped using their PCs," Gadekar said. "They’re using iPad as the primary productivity tool."
With the idea of making content available on all devices - PC, tablet and phone - the CloudOn team decided to start with the iPad. They launched an app in January and within 12 hours it became the No. 1 free app for iPad and the No. 1 productivity app in the app store. "Other than Instagram, we are the fastest-growing productivity app on the tablet," said Gadekar, adding that in just under four months, the app has crossed over one million downloads. This compares to one million downloads in a year for Dropbox, he added.
This year, Gadekar plans to take the company to the next level. "It's more than Office on the tablet," he explained. "It's about defining mobile productivity so cloud-based work space should be accessible from phones and tablets."
Soon CloudOn plans to launch an iPhone and Android app to allow users to annotate. For instance, imagine being able to download a PPT and annotate with voice commands on the exact text. I'm not sure I would ever want to download a PPT, but I can imagine that it'd be handy if your phone was the only device on you at a time you needed to be productive in that way. Next year, CloudOn plans to launch productivity apps for groups.