Remote work has changed the tools offices need for communicating asynchronously across meetings and chat, but not all collaboration takes place in neat little chat bubbles.

Anvil is a San Francisco startup that’s aiming to transform how businesses collaborate around the humble PDF. Anvil’s automation platform levels up Google Forms and allows customers to digitize tiresome PDFs through dynamic forms that unify processes customers might have typically needed to use several pieces of software to access previously. Users can leverage the platform to create, share, fill in, sign and download completed docs without picking up a pen.

Anvil announced today that it had raised $5 million in a seed funding round led by Google’s Gradient Ventures.

The startup is competing directly with rivals like DocuSign, a product that Anvil CEO Mang-Git Ng believes is “great for completing and executing a document,” but is “lacking when it comes to actually creating the document.” Anvil integrates directly with DocuSign for customers that have already integrated the service into their workflows, but Anvil is also replicating some of the service’s functionality as they look to build out an end-to-end solution for document automation.

Anvil is focusing early efforts on courting customers in the wealth and banking space. On the pricing side, they have both per-project and subscription plans, which start at $99 per month.

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Anvil’s team

The startup recently tested their own abilities to get up-and-running quickly as they partnered with a bank to create an online portal for filling out applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Ng says the startup helped Sunrise Bank customers apply for $127 million worth of PPP loans. “It was a whirlwind experience for us. We pretty much went from first conversation to deploying with them in six days,” Ng told TechCrunch.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitization of paper processes, Ng says that the company has seen a bump in interest as more companies have gone remote and discovered new needs around making paperwork more collaborative and more digital-friendly, especially when it comes to areas like onboarding, compliance and internal applications.

“The overall trend that we’ve been seeing is that people in these industries are thinking about going more digital, but generally speaking, the people who are at the forefront of that tend to be in larger organizations where squeezing a little bit more operational efficiency will save a ton of money,” Ng says. “But as we’ve gone into lockdown, everybody has to figure out how to do things remotely and the solutions that help people do things remotely are definitely pushing to the forefront.”

Citi Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Financial Venture Studio and 122 West also participated in Anvil’s seed round.

Source: TechCrunch