“Unified Platform for Research Communication” Typeset Raises $850K in Pre-Series A Funding
The funding comes from Haresh Chawla, a partner at True North (India Value Fund) in his personal capacity. He had initially invested in the venture in 2015.
Millions of researchers submit their manuscript to science journals for publishing, every year. With less than 10% chance of getting published, authors battle lack of research-specific writing tools, tedious guidelines, and fuzzy submission procedures.
Today, a startup called Typeset.io has raised a pre-series A round of $850K to change all that and provide a writing platform that allows authors to communicate their research effectively. The Scientific Publishing market is pegged at $25 Billion.
The funding comes from Haresh Chawla, a partner at True North (India Value Fund) in his personal capacity. He had initially invested in the venture in 2015. The investment will be utilized in expanding the platform features across the research communication workflow.
So what’s the need for a writing platform specific for research?
“Research is what enables scientific progress. But the tools that researchers are forced to use today do not allow them to express their knowledge effectively” says Saikiran Chandha, CEO and co-founder of Typeset.io. “Typically an author has to use 4-5 different tools to collect, write, format, collaborate and submit their research paper to his/her target journal. The experience is fragmented.”
And that’s just the beginning of the problems researchers face.
Authors are forced to spend a lot of time and effort in formatting their content to the target journal’s specific guidelines. A typical journal’s author guidelines run to hundreds of pages. Not less tedious are the procedures to get a research paper submitted. Continues, Saikiran “an author has to go through an average of 20 steps to get her paper submitted, and this is even before peer review!”
How do Typeset aim to solve these problems?
“We started by creating a Universal Manuscript Editor for researchers. This intelligent editor brings down the formatting effort down to zero. Authors can write their content on the platform and in a click get their paper formatted to any research Journal’s guidelines” says, Shanu Kumar, CTO, and co-founder.
Typeset presently has over 28,000 intelligent journal builders and is adding hundreds every week. Our aim is to cover all the journals by December 2017. With this we would have freed millions of scientific researchers all over the globe from hours of time they spend in formatting their submissions.
How’s the user response on the product been like?
“Absolutely amazing,” beams Shanu. Within three months of launch, tens of thousands of researchers from 103 countries are writing on the platform. “We are adding nearly 5000 users per month, and at the moment our users are completing 120+ academic papers per week on the platform, with almost 95% of new users coming via word of mouth”, adds Saikiran. Saikiran and Shanu aspire for Typeset to become one of the biggest consumer SaaS success stories from India.
Shanu attributes it to the team. “In 2 years since we began work on this platform, we have grown to become a 25-member team. Our core engineering and product team come from prestigious universities such as NUS Singapore, Stanford, IIT, IIM, NID etc. We are looking to grow more, with this round of funding.” According to Shanu, the underlying technology can be used on an array of other documents, where compliance to formatting rules is set mandatory by the publisher. In fact, students from top universities are already using Typeset.io to write their thesis and assignments on the platform.
Typeset.io’s competitors are Authorea, ShareLaTeX, Overleaf, and LyX. “In a direct sense, even Microsoft-word and Google docs are our competitors” explains Saikiran. “Authorea, ShareLaTeX, Lyx, and Overleaf require users to learn LaTeX and these tools are not user-friendly. Microsoft-word and Google-docs are not built for research content creation and thus lack critical features such as auto-formatting, structured-XML output, and journal templates. Also, none of the competitors provide an end-end workflow integration such as peer-review, reference library, and single click submissions.”
Commenting on the funding, Haresh Chawla says “It’s been fantastic working with the Typeset team for over two years now. They are attacking a tough problem in a massive market and have the potential to become one of the successful global B2C companies from India”.
So what interested him in Typeset.io?
“Very simply, it’s product thinking one runs into very few teams that are so focused on creating a unique world-class product. Writing experience is broken for all the research products on the web. Existing players undervalue the merits of a good authorship experience. Consumption experience on the web is yet another problem as most publishers just put up static HTML pages. With powerful web technologies, this experience can be better. Typeset team has understood this problem well and are providing a great user experience, which is critical in capturing this market.”
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