In recent years, we’ve seen a renaissance in productivity software. To make knowledge work seamless, internal teams have largely moved off of “hard files,” toward real-time workspaces with commenting, collaboration, and notifications. And yet, the way that organizations communicate with each other — inter-company collaboration — still largely lives in email and file attachments. This is especially true in professional services industries like consulting, law, finance, accounting, and insurance that still live in Microsoft Office and PDF documents.
Our team has pondered the right way to attack this market and redefine the productivity suite. Nearly two years ago, we met Jacob Beckerman, the founder of Macro, and we started to get an inkling of what was needed: someone daring enough to rebuild these programs from the ground up using first principles. They would need deep user empathy to reimagine the UX for how we process information, along with an obsession around product quality to ensure the new product rivals the fidelity of the incumbent solutions. As we spent more time with Jacob, we became convinced that he was this person, and that Macro had the potential to be this product.
Macro started off by building a better document editor. When we think about working across organizations (as opposed to collaborating internally), PDF and DOCX are the “official” formats to share information in many industries. Yet, the way we maneuver these documents is archaic. With long documents, or a set of related documents, we often find ourselves with multiple windows open across multiple screens, hitting CTRL + F and scrolling ad nauseam. Contrast this to when we read webpages in a browser, or traverse a codebase — disparate sections are bidirectional linked, we’re able to click into definitions, and sources are easily found. Put simply, the context is often immediately accessible.
Macro made this experience a reality for documents by using novel NLP models to automatically parse the text to identify and create references throughout documents. When you open any PDF with Macro, the reading experience becomes interactive and context-rich with hyperlinks, the way it ought to be. However, this initial work to modernize the PDF experience was only the first step in Macro’s grander vision to redefine the productivity suite. Indeed, they have since added comparison tools to analyze documents side by side, and automation capabilities to support producing multiple documents simultaneously.
Despite building stealthily, the product hasn’t gone unnoticed by the market. Each time we caught up with Jacob, Macro had more users, including law firms, asset managers, and investment banks. We talked to these users and were delighted to find many power users who exclaimed that the product had unlocked a new way for them to work. One told us that, “If you’re not already using Macro, you’re in the stone ages.”
We are thrilled to be backing Jacob and the entire Macro team, and lead their Seed round, as they pursue their vision to reimagine the productivity suite. The standards they set for product quality are inspiring. Any knowledge worker who works with documents on a regular basis should be trying out the Macro product.