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The PDF Chef: George Evans

The creator of the cloud-based app providing tools for small business document design needs started the business with a deep knowledge of the startup mar

Name: George Evans
Age: 59
Company: The PDF Chef
Staff numbers: 5
Location: London
Date launched: 01/03/2013
Website: www.thepdfchef.com

Tell us what your business does:

The PDF Chef is a design, publishing and social sharing platform aimed at start-ups and owners/managers of small and medium sized businesses. It will also appeal to charities and non-profit organisations looking to produce and distribute marketing collateral in a highly cost-effective manner. Small businesses can’t grow without the ability to promote their products and services cost-effectively. They are currently doing this poorly due to high design costs. It also allows the social sharing of messages (virtual posters) and infographics, a fast emerging method over traditional email and print channels. Slideshare+InDesign+Vistaprint = The PDF Chef.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Two of our founders are power users of InDesign and were frustrated that there isn’t a cost-effective, simple to use version for small businesses. Thus, businesses are forced to use expensive freelance design or compromise on design and quality. Also, none of the design tools have a social sharing element and none of the social sharing tools have a design element making us unique. One of our early adopters described The PDF Chef as “the marketing Swiss army knife.”

How did you know there was a market for it?

We have been previewing for the last two years while building the PDF Chef and have amassed over 5,000 businesses that have interest in the product.

What were you doing before starting up?

The three founders worked together on a dot-com start-up some 12 years ago. We have got back together (like Take That) after a decade to develop and take The PDF Chef to market.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I have done start-ups and scaled early stage businesses all my working life… I just love the buzz!

How did you raise the money?

We are bootstrapping the business through to an angel round once we have a bit more product validation.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Making non-trivial complex tasks really simple and easy to master.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Users will pay a monthly subscription which should save them over £100 per month vs. the alternatives that currently exist as separate products.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Our private beta was launched to rave reviews and we are very excited by the final commercial beta which is now live.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Focus, of course, and learn to really enjoy the challenges posed by all the set-backs of a new start-up. Too many get frightened by the challenge rather than relishing in it.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Providing hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized businesses with the most functional and cost-effective way to promote their products and services…. and then helping other start-ups to scale.

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